Northern New Mexico school district becomes first in state to add e-buses

Small school district gets first e-buses in New Mexico

The Dulce School District is becoming the first in New Mexico to transition to electric school buses.

DULCE, N.M. — The wheels on the bus still go round and round but something different is powering them at a school district in northern New Mexico.

“This is monumental. You will one day look back and go, ‘I was there when the very first electric school buses were put into service in New Mexico.'”

Martin Chavez, a representative from the governor’s office, addressed students at Dulce Independent Schools. They district is the first in the state to add an electric school bus to their fleet.

It isn’t just one bus, either. They added two buses, which could soon replace gas-powered buses across the state.

“This has been a long time coming. This has been a very long project. We’re super excited to have the buses here,” said Jacob Herbster, the transportation supervisor for Dulce Independent Schools.

It is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed into law in late 2021.

They say it’s the first investment in infrastructure here since the 1950s.

“New Mexico will get $3.8 billion over 5 years of that infrastructure money and then there are a whole lot of grants,” Chavez said.

The specific grant came from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program.

“When it was first announced, I was sitting with the Governor. She said, ‘Wait a minute, this means we can get electric school buses all around the state.’ I said ‘Absolutely,’ and she said, ‘I want it!'” Chavez recalled.

They will store the buses in the barn. There, they installed chargers in there that they will use daily. Batteries will also warm up the buses in the cold weather.

“This will be your life going forward. It will seem normal but it is not normal. It’s people working really hard. Administrators here worked really hard,” Chavez said.