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State officials, bus company working on informing school systems about electric buses

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State officials will work with an electric vehicle company to develop a pilot project aimed at putting more zero-emission school buses on West Virginia roads.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the initiative during Thursday’s coronavirus briefing. State Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael will be responsible for working with GreenPower Motor Company on informing school districts about the potential to purchase electric school buses.

The announcement follows GreenPower’s announcement in January about opening a manufacturing facility in South Charleston. The company signed an agreement regarding a 9.5-acre manufacturing facility and an 80,000-square-foot-building.

“This is designed to help school districts take advantage of federal dollars that are currently available for nearly 100% of the purchase of electric buses,” Justice said.

GreenPower spokesperson Mark Nestlen noted as part of last year’s infrastructure law, Congress dedicated $5 billion toward replacing diesel school buses with zero-emission vehicles.

“That’s now open to our school districts in West Virginia to where they can, in essence, almost get those buses for free,” he said. “The large school buses will have a $375,000 rebate from the federal government. The small school buses, $285,000.”

School systems will also get an additional $20,000 rebate for each bus in order to install the necessary charging infrastructure such as electric vehicle charger installation.

Nestlen additionally announced GreenPower will take possession of the South Charleston site on Aug. 1. The company plans to have completed buses shipped from that facility in September.

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