BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Quieter than a regular school bus, yet more essential to the community, school busses in Kern County are in the process of going green and operating solely on electricity.
Director of Transportation Services for Kern County Superintendent of Schools James McClelland says the district hopes that by being the first to introduce electric busses, other districts will follow.
"Showing them that this can be done is one step forward in districts also stepping aboard to realize that clean air is what we need and this is the way to go," said McClelland.
KCSOS currently has 3 electric busses, the purchase of which was made possible by a $1.1 million dollar grant offered by the California Energy Commission.
McClelland says the busses can go roughly 120 miles off of a single charge. One of the busses took its first trip around the city recently, and if all goes well, McClelland expects busses 2 and 3 to start their rounds as well.
As an electric vehicle, the bus is a lot quieter than gas-powered busses, but McClelland says there are other amenities being introduced as well.
"They do come fully equipped with air conditioning, as well as heating of course, and in this Valley we need that air conditioning," said McClelland, "but the ride, it's very smooth. It's glass, you know? While you're on the road."
There are only 3 electric school busses at the moment, but McClelland says the eventual goal is to replace all the gas-powered busses and fill the lot with electric vehicles. To this end, KCSOS has applied for another grant that will hopefully allow the district to purchase an additional seven electric busses.