Pentwater receives $790,000 grant for 2 electric buses, charging infrastructure.

October 25, 2022

– Contributed photo

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

PENTWATER — Pentwater Public School will be at the forefront of transportation technology when two electric buses join the bus fleet thanks to a federal grant.

The district was awarded a $790,000 grant for two electric buses and charging infrastructure through the EPA Clean School Bus Program. The new program provides $5 billion over the next five years to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models.  

“The selection criteria was based on school districts that face economic challenges that impact their fleet operations,” said Superintendent/Principal Scott Karaptian. “Pentwater was considered a priority school by the EPA.”

Each electric bus could generate an annual savings of $10,000-plus due to eliminating fuel costs, he said. 

The grant includes $750,000 for the buses and $40,000 for the charging infrastructure, said Superintendent Karaptian .  

The new buses will not arrive until as early as next spring, and they will replace two aging buses. “They only have a 120-mile charging radius, so we will use these for our general routes and use our fuel-based buses for extracurricular activities.” 

“We are extremely excited for our small district to be awarded something like this,” said the school leader of school board members and staff. 

“We’re a Green School, so that helps fall in line with that (designation), too.” The Green School program helps schools achieve environmental goals through good ecological practices and teaching K-12 students about educational stewardship.

“I want to give a lot of credit to our transportation director Anthony Davis, our business manager Martha Baker, and the ESD transportation director Trina Morris. All of those people were really helpful in putting this application together.

“We had to have the application submitted by July 28, and we just got word today (Oct. 25). All applicants are selected by a lottery.”

Pentwater was one of 25 districts in Michigan to be awarded the grant. “So, we will be the only district in our area to have electric buses,” said Karaptian. “I was told the closest school to the south of us is Zeeland and to the north is Gaylord.”

Propulsion noise from electric cars is quieter than their internal combustion engine counterparts. Students riding the e-buses will have a much quieter ride, said Karaptian. “We just feel very fortunate that we were awarded this opportunity to purchase these two buses and be provided the infrastructure.”  

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