LACES Untied

LACES Untied

LACES Untied

Just Ask Z
Just Ask Z
May 28, 2024
Art by Lucas Lee.
SAT or SAT Free
May 23, 2024
Just Ask Z
May 23, 2024

Electric Avenue

LAUSD’s new clean-energy bus fleet

On January 15th, The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled an initiative named the Clean School Bus Program Grants Competition. The program has allocated substantial federal grants to revitalize aging school bus fleets with low and zero-emission alternatives, marking a pivotal moment in LAUSD’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

LAUSD was awarded $20 million to go towards 50 buses. This move, hailed by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, was to him a crucial step “toward electrification and away from fossil fuels in transportation,” as he said in a statement. This significant investment, part of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, aims to provide cleaner air for seven million students across numerous districts.

These aren’t the only benefits that come with the buses, though. The cost benefits over the lifetime of the vehicle are shown to be cheaper per vehicle’s lifetime in comparison to diesel buses. In a published Environment and Defense Fund article they identify the cost of diesel buses to be a whopping $653,000 while the electric buses cost a measly $410,000. The greenhouse gas emissions between the diesel and electric buses also show a significant disparity. Diesel buses’ lifetime emissions are 363 tons while the electric buses are only 116.

The districts selected for the grants were identified as “high-need” in the competition, reflecting a strategic focus to target areas that require urgent environmental attention. The total investment in California surpasses $88 million, aiming to replace 234 existing buses with low and zero-emission models. 

Students express their excitement for the grant. “It’ll minimize our environmental impact, we’ll use less gas, and it’ll be less expensive in the long run,” said senior Linus Allen-Auerbach.

However, there are still some unknowns surrounding the electric vehicular fleet. The effectiveness of the buses under extreme weather conditions are still unresolved. 

“If it says 200 miles, for example, on a Tesla, if it’s summertime, and you’re running the AC, that range is inaccurate,” said assistant principal Mr. Oliver Rivas, sharing his doubts of the EV wave. 

According to a Spectrum News New York article, the range of your average electric vehicle is shown to decrease by 5% in 90 degrees and 31% in 100 degrees. Another unknown is the maintenance required to support the new fleet of buses. 

“You’re going to need specialized personnel to work on them,” said Mr. Rivas. “I know that LAUSD has a fleet of mechanics that work on regular diesel and gasoline vehicles.”

Looking ahead, the selected school districts and transportation companies will collaborate with the EPA to finalize their plans and procure the new buses. The EPA and Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is facilitating a smooth transition to greener alternatives showing collective determination to shape a more sustainable future.

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About the Contributor
Kai Spatzier
Kai Spatzier, Art Director
Senior at LACES High School and art director for LACES Untied. Professional musician and piano player. Creative mind, genius boy.
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