Electric School Bus Pilot Program Launching in Los Angeles


Student Transportation of America (STA) is launching its Electric Vehicle (EV) Pilot Program in Los Angeles. In total, five electric buses will replace a handful of diesel school buses in the fleet.

“STA understands the desire to lower diesel emissions,” says Gene Kowalczewski, STA’s COO. “Launching our Electric Vehicle Pilot Program is the first step in our commitment to making a more positive impact on the health of our passengers and our planet. We’ve invested, explored grants and made the right partnerships to build a strong foundation for a successful EV rollout. We’re looking forward to seeing how well these buses perform in LA and will begin looking into other select markets in the very near future.”

In Los Angeles, Blue Bird was responsible for manufacturing the new buses, which feature a Cummins battery electric system. Southern California’s Beard Electric EV was tapped to help update the existing bus terminals—supported by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The existing infrastructure was modified to support the installation of the Level 2 electrical vehicle charging stations. The installation of the charging stations served as a mentoring project for LADWP’s Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator class. Cohorts, primarily from underserved communities, watched the construction of the EV infrastructure from start to finish via Zoom as Brett Beard (Beard Electric’s EV infrastructure operations director) spoke to the intricacies of the installation of EV Charging Systems.

Ronald Halley, vice president of fleet and facilities, will lead the pilot program. He will be responsible for designing and coordinating maintenance processes and new facilities for STA’s vehicles throughout the country. Halley also leads the company’s alternative fuel program, working closely with manufacturing and energy partners to expand the company’s Green Fleet of lower-emission vehicles. Halley’s team plans to track battery life, monitor component life and collect other key data as the electric buses service the LA routes.

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