Electric Bus Grants Allow First Student to Purchase Ten Buses for Cincinnati Public Schools
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Electric Bus Grants Allow First Student to Purchase Ten Buses for Cincinnati Public Schools

  • First Student received enough grant money to add 370 school buses for school districts around the United States, including 10 electric buses in Cincinnati.
  • This is the second round of grants for First Student, which purchased 170 electric school buses with grant money in 2022.
  • Every diesel bus releases 54,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Cincinnati students will soon ride on fully electric school buses thanks to the electric school bus initiative from the United States EPA. Thanks to a $3.95 million grant, First Student can purchase ten buses for students who attend Cincinnati Public Schools.


The Power of the EPA Clean School Bus Program

The full EPA grant includes enough money for First Student to purchase 370 electric school buses for school transportation around the country. The investment from the EPA will allow the transportation company to begin switching its 30,000 diesel-powered school buses to electric buses. Annually, every diesel bus releases approximately 54,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Image care of Blue Bird.

The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is designed to help school districts and transportation companies speed up the deployment of electric school buses. The grants help not just school districts, but also electric school bus manufacturers. The large type-C Blue Bird electric school bus costs about $370,000, while a model with a wheelchair lift costs about $395,000. The grants help transportation officials purchase electric buses and the necessary charging infrastructure.

Helping Cincinnati Children Breathe Cleaner Air

Students in Cincinnati Public Schools will see the diesel buses arrive within the next 18 months. Despite the high cost of electric school buses, students and school districts benefit in several ways. As diesel emissions harm children’s lungs and can exacerbate asthma symptoms, electric buses will protect student health. School districts will reduce fuel and repair costs. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

If you’re concerned about the school bus companies that make models with diesel engines, you can rest easy, as the electric school bus companies benefiting from the grants also make models with diesel engines.

Iranetta Rayborn Wright, the Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools said about the grant, “This investment in school bus electrification isn’t just a step toward sustainability, it supports the well-being of our students, families and community. By embracing eco-friendly transportation, we’re reducing emissions while fostering a healthier environment for our students.”

First Student already received financing from a first-round EPA grant in November 2022. The transportation company used the money to purchase 170 electric school buses for 12 school districts around the country.

The Range and Charging Needs for Electric School Buses

Image care of First Student

The typical electric school bus range is between 100 and 210 miles, depending on the bus size and battery size. Most school bus routes are under 100 miles, so the electric batteries are large enough to get the job done. Electric buses are performing well, even in cold weather. Three Rivers Community Schools near Kalamazoo, Michigan already has electric buses, and the district reports that they outperform diesel models in the coldest Michigan winters.

Most electric school buses charge overnight using a Level 2 charger. Most buses need between six to eight hours to fully charge. Since school buses generally sit in the parking lot overnight, they are ideal for daily school routes.



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