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Steamboat Springs School District’s School Bus Fleet Goes All-Electric

Steamboat Springs School District’s School Bus Fleet Goes All-Electric

All local routes will be serviced by EV school buses by next school year

Steamboat Springs, Colo. - October 6, 2023 - Steamboat Springs School District is paving the way toward an all-electric fleet of school buses serving local routes. 

The Steamboat Springs School District has recently received a generous grant of $1,675,000 from the Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program. It’s the third grant, totaling $2,454,290 in funding, received by the District to convert the fleet to electric buses. The program is designed to assist schools and nonprofits in purchasing electric school buses or other zero-emission vehicles to transport children.

“We decided to pursue the opportunity to acquire electric buses because our current fleet was aging, and the grant money would allow us to upgrade and reduce the average age of the fleet at a fraction of the cost,” said Casey Ungs, SSSD’s Transportation Manager. “The average price per EV bus was $68,000 versus a diesel or propane equivalent can cost $145,000.” 

electric bus with door open

By the 2024-2025 school year, all ten buses used to transport students locally will be electric, making the entire daily route operation 100% electric. This will make the Steamboat Springs School District (SSSD) one of the first Colorado rural school districts to achieve this feat. The District will continue using propane or gas buses for out-of-town travel to locations not equipped with charging stations. For the 2023-2024 school year, the District is now operating seven electric buses for daily routes, along with two propane and one gas bus. 

“We are proud to be setting an example for other small, rural school districts in the state on how to incorporate electric buses within existing fleets,” said Dr. Celine Wicks, Superintendent.

school bus stop sign

The most recent grant funding will be used to acquire an additional three full-size electric buses and two 14-passenger electric buses, including the daily special education bus with a wheelchair lift. Additionally, the grant provided for the installation of three electric vehicle chargers that can charge the buses in a few hours. 

The SSSD fleet covers 223,819 total miles in a school year, including daily transportation and activity trips. By replacing older diesel and gasoline buses with electric ones, it is estimated that 132 Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gasses will be reduced each year, according to calculations made using the Federal Transit Administration’s Greenhouse Gas estimator. 

electric bus chargers

“We have worked closely with the Steamboat Springs School District to ensure the needed infrastructure upgrades are in place for the new fleet to safely and reliably transport the district's students to and from school,” said Steve Johnson, CEO of  Yampa Valley Electric Association. “These efforts also support Routt County’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as outlined in the Routt County Climate Action Plan.” 

Electric buses are quieter inside and outside, making it easier for drivers and students to converse, enhancing safety, said Ungs. They are easier to start in the winter and can remain at staging areas without the need to idle and release emissions. Additionally, these buses have no transmission, which makes them easier to maintain, reducing the workload for the mechanics who service them.


Media contact:
Laura Milius, Director of Communications