AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, the Austin Independent School District held a press conference announcing a goal to have its entire fleet of buses move from diesel to electric by 2035.

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the resolution last month, recognizing the school district can safeguard children from the harmful effects of diesel school bus
pollution by converting to electric buses.

The district said electric buses have fewer maintenance needs and will save the district money.

“There are kids in Pre-K today who will ride to graduation on our electric buses,” said AISD Interim Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Mays.

Right now there are more than 540 diesel buses in the district, but the plan is to replace all of them with electric buses in time. Next year the district will begin a pilot program to see how the buses work.

“Three of them starting next September will be electric.” said AISD Transportation Director, Kris Hafezizadeh.

The district says the buses will be paid for from current and past bonds. The district has also applied for rebates through the Environmental Protection Agency.

How much do electric buses cost?

“The upfront cost of a diesel bus is about 100 thousand,” said Hafezizadeh. “The upfront cost of the electric bus that we actually just purchased is $378,000.”

AISD says in addition to saving money on gas, maintenance costs will also be less.

“The equivalent for electricity is about a dollar a gallon,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “So, when you are seeing three dollars and fifty cents or four dollars a gallon that we are paying for gas, diesel is even more expensive than that, you see significant savings on the fuel.”

“Very excited for our students, staff and the Austin Environment,” said Hafezizadeh.