Lynwood Unified School District will reduce air pollution and save approximately $20,000 annually when it adds two all-electric school buses to its fleet this coming school year thanks to a pair of grants from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Project (HVIP).
“We’re excited to be adding environmentally friendly transportation to our District and evolving in a direction that will best serve our community,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite said. “These are necessary steps in keeping our District safe for our students.”
The eLion Type C buses are expected to arrive this fall, pending the issuance of the nearly $800,00 in grants, but Lynwood Unified staff members received an early preview on July 19 when they rode in an electric bus prototype. The group of about 30 aboard the bus included Lynwood Transportation Department members, representatives from the First Priority GreenFleet bus provider and Ev Connect charging service, along with SCAQMD members.
Capable of accommodating more than 70 passengers each, the eLion buses offer wide 18-inch aisles, roomier than the standard 12-inch space, for comfortable student mobility. The electric motor features a quiet ride. The buses will be capable of traveling 75 miles while fully charged at one of the stations that will be installed at the District’s bus barn.
“We will be operating on a smart charging system that communicates to the bus and the driver and keeps them aware of time, distance and safety features,” Lynwood Director of Maintenance Operations & Transportation Gustavo Gonzalez said. “Our drivers are looking forward to receiving new training and upgrading the transportation of our students.”
The eLion vehicles will save the District fuel and maintenance costs as the electric buses don’t require oil or transmission fluid and offer longer use of brakes. Most importantly, children of the District will be less exposed to smog-forming pollution emitted by diesel buses.
Fifty-one public school districts applied for the SCAQMD grant. Lynwood was one of just 16 to earn the award, which includes $496,000 for the vehicles and $40,000 for charging stations. The HVIP grant will award $260,000.
The District plans to eventually upgrade its entire fleet to electric buses for safer and more energy-efficient travel.