Three Rivers Community Schools, I&M Partner on Electric School Buses
Supt. Ron Moag, left, and Toby Thomas

THREE RIVERS, Mich. – Three Rivers Community Schools will receive two of Michigan’s first environmentally friendly electric school buses using charging infrastructure developed in partnership with Indiana Michigan Power (I&M).

“In our District Strategic Plan, we have eight graduate outcomes that we believe will assist our Three Rivers graduates in becoming successful adults,” said Ron Moag, Superintendent of Three Rivers Community Schools. “One of those outcomes is being a socially responsible citizen. I know that by having two electric buses in our fleet, we are modeling that outcome to all of our students and community.”

Toby Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M, said: “We commend Three Rivers Community Schools, Superintendent Moag and his leadership team for taking the initiative to pursue this great opportunity for buses that are less costly to operate and maintain, and are better for the environment.”

Thomas said I&M was pleased to work with Three Rivers Community Schools to make sure the proper charging infrastructure is in place, including upgrading a transformer serving the schools.

School district officials worked with I&M to determine the best locations for two Level 2 chargers, which be located on the high school campus.

Three Rivers Community Schools plans to use the energy efficient buses on routes within the city, where buses spend much of their time idling. The chosen routes carry about 500 students daily.

With electric school buses, children’s exposure to harmful diesel exhaust fumes and particles plummets. No fumes from buses idling near opening and closing doors are drawn inside the school building, where children spend most of their day.

The buses are quieter and less expensive to maintain because their motors have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, and electricity is a far less-expensive fuel than gasoline or diesel. Three Rivers Community Schools is the first school district where I&M will be providing service to charge buses.

Three Rivers Community Schools is one of seven Michigan school districts selected to receive a total of 17 electric school buses. The Michigan Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) department awarded the schools $4.2 million from its Fuel Transformation Program to pay the majority of the costs of the buses and charging stations. The money came not from taxpayers but from Michigan’s part of a nationwide settlement financed by Volkswagen, which was fined for installing emission control defeat devices on many of its diesel vehicles.

With the support of EGLE’s Materials Management Division, the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation developed the project and convened stakeholders who worked collaboratively toward a healthier environment for years to come, for children and communities. In addition to Three Rivers, the electric buses will operate in Zeeland, Ann Arbor, Gaylord, Kalamazoo, Oxford and Roseville.

The purchase of the electric school buses was announced Thursday on the East Lawn of the Capitol Building in Lansing by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others. Superintendent Moag and I&M President Thomas were among those attending.

“Three Rivers Community Schools will continue to find additional ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” Moag said. “Public schools, along with many other sectors of our society, will turn to electric buses as a means to model being a socially responsible citizen, leaving a healthier place to live for generations to come.”

# # #

About Three Rivers Community Schools: Three Rivers Community Schools is located twenty-five miles south of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our 2,700 students occupy four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and a community center that houses early-childhood and adult education programs. Three Rivers Community Schools has a rich tradition of academic and co-curricular excellence. Our school district and community are proud to partner with Indiana Michigan Power in this electric bus venture.

About Indiana Michigan Power: Indiana Michigan Power, an operating company of American Electric Power, is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,370 employees serve more than 597,000 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.

Tracy Warner
Communications Manager
Indiana Michigan Power
(260) 408-3420
Supt. Ron Moag, left, and Toby Thomas

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