(CBS DETROIT) – DTE Energy has partnered with Ann Arbor and Roseville schools to deploy six zero-emission electric school buses.

As COVID-19 has delayed in-person learning for some schools, the new electric buses will be used to deliver meals to school children through federal food assistance programs in addition to student transportation.

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Both schools will also receive Proterra DC Fast Chargers, which can charge the electric school buses in about three hours. During the five-year pilot of these vehicles, Hoekstra Transportation, a local dealer based in Troy, Michigan, will be instrumental in providing the school districts with additional training and support.

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The company plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 while continuing to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to all customers. This mission drove DTE’s work in helping secure the electric buses for Ann Arbor and Roseville schools, as the buses are expected to save nearly 490 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon consumed by over 7,300 trees in 10 years.

While the Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue student learning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAPS buses remain a critical component of the online learning program by transporting food to 22 distribution locations throughout the school district.

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The adaptability of these zero-emission buses has already proven to be crucial in providing community support through the pandemic, DTE says. In Roseville, the buses delivered meals while students were at home learning virtually. In February, the zero-emission buses will deploy with a new purpose — transporting students to school, offering greater safety and a cleaner alternative to traditional buses.

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