For Flowing Wells and Tucson Unified School Districts, new electric school buses will soon be rolling into town. The federal government will provide $5 over the next five years for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program. The goal is to replace older, diesel buses with electric buses in order to cut down on emissions.

“121 buses were awarded for the state and 11 of them will be here in the Tucson valley,” Chelsea Wilson, the RWC Group’s bus sales representative for southern Arizona, said. “The EPA is going to provide up to $340 thousand towards the cost of a EV bus and infrastructure.”

Flowing Wells Unified will get one bus and TUSD will get 10 buses. The infrastructure means not only will the schools purchase chargers, but make sure their buildings have the necessary assets to support the charger, Wilson said. Tucson Electric Power is also helping the schools get these buses by paying the rest of the purchase.

“With that, the school district has agreed to allow the buses to be available to both vehicle to grid and vehicle to building, which will allow the buses to be a cooling station,” Wilson said.

But these buses won’t be able to charge at a regular EV station they need level two chargers and it’ll take about eight to 10 hours to charge, Wilson said.

“Our buses have a 135 mile range,” she said. “You’re going to want to keep the bus on a shorter route.”

She said the buses will be ready to ride at the schools in 12-18 months.