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As Electric School Buses Roll, the Energy Institute Will Analyze the Data

The State of Michigan today hosted a rollout ceremony for the first of 17 all-electric school buses that will soon start serving children across the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and representatives of the seven school districts to receive the buses were on hand for the event along with Liesl Clark, Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and other dignitaries.

The electric buses will replace older diesel school buses thanks to an EGLE-administered program financed through the¬†Volkswagen Settlement Mitigation Trust Fund. The provision of these funds is part of a deal VW made with U.S. Federal regulators to help right the clean-air wrongs caused by the company’s “Dieselgate” scandal several years ago. When riding an electric school bus, children avoid the fine particles and harmful fumes from diesel exhaust. Moreover, no fumes from buses idling near school doors will waft into school buildings, where children spend most of their day.

Ann Arbor is one of the seven districts to receive the electric school buses. As the four electric buses that Ann Arbor Public Schools will get are put into service, the University of Michigan Energy Institute will partner with the school district and DTE, which provides the power to charge the bus batteries, to evaluate their performance. This research will provide a firm analytic foundation for optimizing electric school bus operations and its connection to the grid. Educational components with project-based learning will be structured around the electric buses and solar installations at various schools.