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All-Electric School Bus Makes San Diego County Debut In Escondido

Aired 3/24/14 on KPBS News.

There's a new school bus transporting students around Escondido this month. It appears yellow, but it's actually green.

One of America's first all-electric school buses is making its debut in San Diego County.

The 48-seat bus is part of a state pilot program to introduce school districts to clean energy bus fleets.

Robert Berkstresser is transportation director for Escondido Union School District. He says the 40-foot-long bus is very quiet and can travel 60 miles per charge.

“We're only running it in the morning. It's gotten a lot of good reviews from the driver and the students actually enjoy it. As opposed to running a diesel engine in the morning on the same route, it's about half the cost in energy," Berkstresser said. "It costs us about $8 to recharge it enough to run it for this particular route and if we were running a diesel school bus on this route it would probably run us about $19 to $21.”

After Escondido, the bus will be tested in other San Diego County school districts. The overall push is to reduce harmful diesel fuel emissions at schools.

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