Electric Vehicles

Albertville, Ala., City Schools Receive Federal Funding for 19 Electric Buses

Albertville City Schools in Alabama will receive $7.5 million toward the purchase of 19 new electric buses through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program. 

Albertville’s Board of Education recently voted to move forward with the rebate program. The Clean School Bus program is a rebate competition for school districts. The rebate will fully cover 19 brand new electric buses and 10 charging stations. 

The 19 electric buses will replace older diesel-modeled buses in the fleet. Electric school buses have fewer moving parts than traditional diesel buses, resulting in lower maintenance costs.

Maintenance savings will be close to $10,000 each year, with another $40,000 estimated in yearly fuel savings. The new buses will generate an estimated $150,000 each year in fleet renewal funds for the next 10 years for Albertville City Schools.

As part of the rebate program, the system will scrap buses manufactured in 2010 or before. Buses manufactured after 2011 will be sold, which will generate additional income for the system. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 authorizes EPA to offer rebates to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models to reduce emissions from older buses.

 In September, the EPA announced it would nearly double the funding awarded for clean school buses in 2022 following high demand from school districts across the United States that applied for the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates. These awards represent the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The EPA received around 2,000 applications. High-needs school districts, including school districts with more than 20-percent of students in poverty, rural school districts, Tribal school districts and districts in underserved and overburdened communities were prioritized.

As a rural school district with more than 80% of its students living in poverty, Albertville City Schools was awarded a total of $7,505,000 to purchase the buses.

The rebate per bus totals $375,000, plus $20,000 per bus in infrastructure funding, which includes the purchase of the charging stations. Thanks to the rebate, the system will not incur any expenses in relation to purchasing the buses.

The Municipal Utilities Board in Albertville has offered to cover the expenses of a new meter and transformer, and the system will be able to utilize more parking at the transportation department thanks to the City of Albertville. 

Albertville will see the new additions to the fleet hit the road by the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. Preparation for the on-site charging stations will begin as soon as March 2023.

The electric buses will make up around 30% of the fleet at Albertville and will be used for inter-district routes. Diesel buses will continue to be used for extracurricular trips. On a full charge, electric buses can go for 135 miles. Training will be available for drivers and maintenance technicians. 

Albertville City Schools will run the buses for at least five years and commit to an audit of the district’s expenditures to ensure they comply with federal program standards.