Pentwater ‘leads the charge’ with 2 electric school buses

September 29, 2023

Pentwater Public Schools Superintendent/Principal Scott Karaptian, at right, and Pentwater Public Schools Transportation Supervisor Anthony Davis stand in front of one of the new electric buses after a “test drive” to Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater.

Pentwater ‘leads the charge’ with 2 electric school buses

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

PENTWATER — Pentwater Public School is at the forefront of transportation technology with the arrival of two electric buses that joined the fleet Friday, Sept. 29, thanks to a federal grant.

The district was awarded a $790,000 grant for the buses and charging stations 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. 

“This is not a large urban/suburban school bringing electric buses to our region — it is the small rural, tourism town of Pentwater that is leading the ‘charge’ to bringing green energy through electric vehicles to our district and region,” said Pentwater Superintendent/Principal Scott Karaptian. 

“The selection criteria was based on school districts that face economic challenges that impact their fleet operations. 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, Karaptian said. 

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

The new pair of buses will replace two aging buses on the district’s five-bus fleet. They are expected to be put into service by as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week. “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. 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.

All applicants are selected by a lottery, and 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. “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. 

“I am very proud of Pentwater Public School, the Pentwater community and very proud to be a Pentwater Falcon.”

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