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Ann Arbor Public Schools, DTE Energy deploy electric school buses to deliver meals to children

Ann Arbor, Roseville school districts participate in effort

Employees of Roseville schools load meals onto an electric school bus.
Employees of Roseville schools load meals onto an electric school bus. (Mark Houston | DTE Energy)

ANN ARBOR – With Ann Arbor Public Schools buildings still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district has partnered with DTE Energy to put its new zero-emission electric school buses to good use.

The six electric vehicles will be used to deliver meals to students in Ann Arbor and Roseville schools through federal food assistance programs. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, in collaboration with MAPT and the Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, provided funding for the buses.

“We are thrilled to help deploy these electric buses as another proof point of our clean energy plan at DTE,” Trevor Lauer, President and COO, DTE Electric said in a news release. “From renewable energy deployment to our Charging Forward program offering incentives on electric vehicle chargers, our goal is to continue to lead locally and nationally on combatting climate change. 

“We appreciate the Ann Arbor and Roseville school districts as well as our state and business partners for working with us to further these goals.”

Over their lifetime, the The new Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley electric school buses are expected to conserve roughly 490 tons of greenhouse gas emissions -- that’s how much carbon can be consumed by more than 7,300 trees in 10 years. The vehicles are also expected to save more than 40% on fuel and maintenance than traditional buses.

“The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is proud to partner with DTE and the Roseville and Ann Arbor school districts on this transformative initiative that offers a glimpse into the future of school bus transportation,” Liesl Clark, EGLE director said in a news release.

“The grants we issued for these buses not only are a forward-thinking solution to improving air quality for students and their communities, but they are also an important piece in moving the state toward the goal set by Governor Gretchen Whitmer of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

AAPS will be using the buses to distribute food to 22 locations throughout its district.

“The addition of zero-emission buses to the AAPS fleet allows this district a new opportunity to highlight clean energy solutions to the community,”Dr. Jeanice K. Swift, Superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools said in a news release.

“The versatility of these buses will enable AAPS to continue to deliver over 9,000 meals to students, twice a week, many whom qualify for free or reduced lunch in the Ann Arbor Public school district.”

The vehicles, designed, engineered and built by Thomas Built Buses in the United States, use battery and drivetrain technology from heavy-duty electric transportation manufacturer Proterra.

AAPS will also receive Proterra DC Fast Chargers, which can provide a full charge in roughly three hours.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.