Nine Calif. School Districts Select Motiv Power Systems-Equipped All-Electric School Buses

FOSTER CITY CA — School districts across California are taking advantage of generous state funding initiatives to replace aging diesel powered fleets with all-electric school buses powered by Motiv Power SystemsCreative Bus Sales, an authorized Motiv dealer, oversaw the latest order for 18 new zero-emission Starcraft eQuest school buses, slated for delivery to districts throughout the state this fall. Funding for the buses was provided by the state from North and South Coast Air Quality Management Districts. The new sales bring the number of Motiv powered vehicles to 78.

“With more than 400,000 Motiv powered all-electric miles to date, we are thrilled to see more schools taking advantage of zero-emission solutions to protect our children from harmful diesel emissions,” said Motiv founder and CEO Jim Castelaz. “The all-electric eQuest XL has been a proven performer, and is ideally suited for urban districts, so it wasn’t a surprise that the majority of districts in Southern California ordered them. Creative Bus Sales has been an excellent dealer for us, and we look forward to continuing our work to show districts how easy and affordable it has become for schools to transition their fleets off of fossil fuels.”

The Type-C eQuest XL school buses are built on the Ford F59-based Motiv EPIC 5 chassis. The CARB certified, all-electric buses provide a maximum capacity of 48 passengers, and with 85 miles of range, provide ample capacity to complete their routes on a single charge. The eQuest buses also sport flexible ADA seating that can be configured to accommodate up to eight wheelchairs for routes serving students with special needs. Creative Bus Sales will also be servicing the vehicles.

“California school districts have some of the dirtiest fleets in the industry. Transitioning them to a clean, all-electric alternatives is essential to the health and safety of both children and drivers,” said Joe Angeli, school bus sales manager at Creative Bus Sales. “Schools prefer the Starcraft eQuest XL for its unparalleled driving experience and ability to navigate congested city streets, while providing a smooth, quiet and emissions-free ride.”

Districts receiving Motiv-powered school buses include seven Los Angeles districts (Los Angeles Unified School District, Covina-Valley Unified School District, Montebello Unified School District, Anaheim Elementary School District, Savanna School District, Coachella Valley Unified School, and Magnolia School District), Brawley Elementary School District in the San Diego region, and Gateway Unified School District in Redding, California. These districts join those in Long Island, New York, Sacramento, Kings Canyon and San Bernardino, in sustainable fleet transportation, and bring the total number of districts using the Motiv EPIC chassis to 14.

About Motiv Power Systems

​Founded in 2009, and headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Motiv Power Systems is committed to freeing fleets from their dependence on fossil fuels. EPIC (Electric Powered Intelligent Chassis) are CARB certified, GSA approved, and available for many configurations. These include walk-in vans, box trucks, work trucks, shuttle buses, school buses, trolleys and other specialty vehicles. An EPIC offers uncompromised performance and functionality without the pollution, noise, heat, and vibration of gasoline or diesel power. Motiv is a Ford eQVM-approved provider of all-electric chassis for commercial trucks and buses, which benefit from engineering insights and support from Ford, to ensure safety and reliability. With more than 400,000 miles logged in Fortune 50 fleet deployments throughout North America, the EPIC family eliminates 100% of vehicle emissions, dramatically reduces operating and maintenance costs, and creates a healthier environment for riders and communities, while also reducing driver fatigue.

About Creative Bus Sales

Creative Bus Sales is the nation’s largest bus dealership, representing over 20 top manufacturers in multiple strategic locations across the country. Hundreds of units in stock allows Creative to offer fast delivery of new and used bus sales, online parts ordering, nationwide service, warranty, in-house financing, and alternative fuel conversions, including CNG, propane and electric. Visit CreativeBusSales.com or on social media: Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Inquiries can also be directed to: 800-326-2877 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Webinar Updates State Plans on VW Funds

A free STN webinar provided an overview of the current standing of the VW Mitigation Trust Fund and what student transporters can do to secure funding for cleaner school buses.

Joe Annotti, senior programs manager for Gladstein, Neandross & Associates and a former U.S. EPA executive, explained the current standings of the $2.925 billion that the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund is in charge of during the live event on Thursday.

Annotti said that as of Jan. 30, each U.S. state, as well as Puerto Rico and a coalition of tribal authorities, has now been certified to disseminate funds for clean air projects.

Related: Webinar Shares Updates, Strategies to Secure VW Funding

Beneficiary Mitigation Plans are the next step. These documents are required from each state, and include information such as proposed projects, the NOx they will reduce, what vehicles are eligible, and how the funds will be allocated.

States are required to open up their plans for public comment for a minimum of 30 days. Over 30 states have published implementation plans, and five have submitted a final plan to the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. Annotti projects that every state would have a draft plan out by this summer 2018.

It should be noted that funds are not rolled out all at once. States can deliver one-third of the funds in the first year, two-thirds by the second year, and the remainder by the end of three years. Some plan to roll out the funds over a 10-year period. “What that plateau means is long-term, sustained opportunity,” Annotti said.

Each state can decide what clean transportation projects to allocate its share of the funding toward, and each state’s plan is different. States can add requirements and restrictions, such as geographical limitations, or allow funds for school bus replacement but exclude charter schools or contractors.

Minnesota is using its $42 million to create five grant programs, including one for school bus replacements. It funds public and private school buses, and provides up to $20,000 per bus. These funds could be available as soon as next week.

Arkansas is focusing on CNG and electric vehicles statewide; 60 percent of its $14.6 million is being directed to CNG school buses, with specific geographic areas being targeted.

California is receiving $422 million and is promoting zero-emissions vehicles where possible, and new-zero technology everywhere else. Some $130 million is going to school, transit and shuttle buses. Student transporters could be reimbursed for up to $400,000 per electric school bus, for “easily the highest incentive figures we’ve seen thus far,” Annotti said.

One attendee questioned the chances of propane in California. Annotti said it was a matter of what state officials decided on for the specific fuel type, but confirmed that California’s focus was zero emissions technology—specifically NOx emissions levels below 0.02 NOx per gb-hr.

That NOx certification is met by the propane school bus engine from ROUSH CleanTech and the L9N natural gas engine from Cummins Westport.

Related: CARB Webinar Shares Clean School Bus Funding, Experiences

Colorado sought stakeholders’ input before developing its plan and received many letters in support of different alternative fuel vehicles.

To be eligible for funds from the Volkswagen settlement, applicants must be using diesel equipment. Along with alternative fuel, states can decide if cleaner diesel is eligible. Oregon, for example, is targeting 450 school buses with cleaner diesel replacements.

However, accessing the funds depends on each state’s plans. For example, said Annotti, applying for a grant involves conducting emissions analysis and assembling a package proposal that specifies the vehicles to replace and requests replacement vehicles. States could alternatively implement a rebate or voucher program that would offer a discount at the time of purchase. However, no RFP has been published, so it is not yet known how states will structure the funding.

“There is no such thing as free money—you’ll have to report” on the vehicle and its usage, cautioned Annotti.

Regardless of condition, the old school bus must be destroyed by cutting a hole in the block and/or slicing the chassis in half.

“It is just a tremendous amount of information to collect and to understand,” Annotti acknowledged.

He encouraged districts and contractors to connect with their state school transportation association and local clean cities departments, for additional information and recommendations on the next steps that are specified by each state guidelines.

With the Volkswagen Settlement Funding Project Competitiveness Calculator that GNA provides, student transporters can input bus type, fuel statistics and zip code, to access a free analysis of what projects they could apply for in their state. Additionally, their VW Funding 360 Portal is a paid service that contains up-to-date information on each state’s procedures and current timeline.

Other free resources are available as well. A VW Beneficiary Mitigation Plan Toolkit published by the National Association of State Energy Officials, contains more information on fuel choices and success stories from operations running cleaner fuels.

The Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Search from the U.S. Department of Energy releases a listing of most of the cleaner or alternative fuel options that are offered for school buses.

The Advanced Clean Transportation EXPO, held from April 30-May 4, 2018, in Long Beach, Calif., discussed clean school bus options. A session presented in partnership with School Transportation News provided tips for school bus replacement.

A panel at the STN EXPO, which will be held on July 13-18, 2018, in Reno, Nevada, will elaborate on the topic of the Volkswagen settlement and what its updated standing could mean for student transporters.

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