Washington state's first electric school bus is being unveiled in Tacoma on Monday.
Part of a pilot, Franklin Pierce Schools received funding for the bus through TransAlta's Centralia Coal Transition grants.
The school district is working with Tacoma Public Utilities to charge the bus, optimize routes, and plan for the expansion of the pilot program.
The all-electric Bluebird bus is part of an effort to replace the district's fleet of diesel buses. The bus can travel 120 miles, according to the district.
The new bus comes at a time when transit agencies are working to make their own fleets more environmentally friendly. Earlier in June, the state's Department of Ecology announced the number of electric buses will more than double in the coming months from a $13.3 million investment to buy 50 zero-emission buses. The money comes Washington's $112.7 million share of the federal Volkswagen settlement.
“This is a transformational investment in our clean energy future and continues to push Washington toward zero-emission transportation technology,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Getting 50 more all-electric buses on the road is a big step forward, and it will pay off in better air quality across our state.”
Transit agencies in Benton, Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties will receive up to $300,000 to help cover the costs of the buses and charging stations.
The $13 million investment follows a $9.4 million investment announced in December to help transit agencies buy 19 electric buses. The funding came from the state's separate $28.4 million settlement with Volkswagen for violating state law.