Location: East Baton Rouge Parish, LA
Fleet Type: Heavy-duty School Bus Fleet

 

Narrative

The East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish school system applied for and was awarded $7.5 million through the first round of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean School Bus Rebate Program funding with partnership from Lion Electric to get 19 electric school buses.

This is not EBR’s first attempt with utilizing alternative fuel school busses, in 2016 the school district added their first propane school buses and in 2020 received funding from the US EPA for $526,592 to purchase propane-fueled school buses. The funding is provided under the Clean Air Act’s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. This showcases that the school district has experience operating with these kinds of grants and is understanding of the process.

After the school district was notified of the award, infrastructure to support the project began. Currently (September 2023) the district is installing chargers and determining how to best utilize these new vehicles. As electric buses typically have a range of 125 miles and hold up to 71 passengers, these vehicles will not be able to run every route; thus, the transportation managers are identifying ideal routes that will be benefited from these electric school buses while staying within the limitations.

EBR is one of six Louisiana school districts, along with one charter school, that was awarded funding for electric school busses through this grant. Some other parishes, including Rapides Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish will receive higher funding to obtain a greater number of buses.

Before EBR received their busses, they had the opportunity to bring a Lion Electric electric school bus to their facilities to test drive and learn more about it. Bus drivers were able to learn about the charging process.

“Tairone Joseph, a veteran school bus driver, shows School Board member Mike Gaudet where you plug in the this Lion C electric school bus after a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.” – The Advocate, 2023

Outputs and Outcomes

The East Baton Rouge Public Schools recently received a grant of $7.5 million to buy 19 electric school buses. This will help reduce emissions and improve the health of students and staff. Currently, the school district has 662 buses, but only two are electric. With the new buses, the electric fleet will increase almost ten times. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. Electric buses have benefits for student and staff health. They run quietly, reducing noise pollution, and have better air filtration systems that can reduce exposure to harmful pollutants that cause respiratory problems.

Overall, acquiring these 19 electric school buses will positively impact the environment, student and staff health, and the community. The buses will be deployed in 2024, and the East Baton Rouge Public Schools are excited to be part of this sustainable initiative.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

As the vehicles have not been received yet, no lessons learned have been determined on that front. For the awarding money, EBR schools found it very beneficial to work with large companies when applying for grants. EBR worked with Lion Electric which has a grant coordinator and streamlined the process.

EBR schools has applied for the second round of EPA Clean School Bus Rebate Program funding for another ~20 buses, and is awaiting the next round of awards to be announced.

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EBR Fleet Story

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