In an effort both to fight the ever-rising costs of fuel and to go green, Lee’s Summit (Mo.) R-7 School District has become the first district in the United States to operate an all-electric distribution fleet. After beginning a discussion in 2008 on ways to reduce its dependency on oil, in August 2010 the district received four delivery trucks, one van, and one refrigerator truck—all powered by electricity. After converting the cost of electric power to the cost of diesel, the district spends roughly $ 0.11 per gallon compared to $2.25. The distribution trucks, which were manufactured at Smith Truck in Kansas City, Mo., are used to transport items such as school supplies, cafeteria products, and in-house mail between the facilities.
The trucks operate with a mere five moving parts, further reducing the cost of maintenance, says Ron Cox, director of purchasing and distribution services for the district. "On an electric truck you would not have a drive shaft, engine, transmission, oil filters or fuel filters," says Cox. Drivers of the trucks were trained in August 2010.
"We are proud to be involved in this green innovation," says Superintendent David McGehee. "This will reduce the amount of money our district spends on fuel for many years."