MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s new pilot grant project, six new electric school buses could hit the road by 2022.

MPCA announced the project Wednesday, with plans to invest up to $3 million from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement. The program is part of Minnesota’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

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Minnesota will be the first state in the Midwest to implement a pilot project that will gather data and information about the buses’ performance. The MPCA hopes to fund projects in each of the four Minnesota regions: northern Minnesota, central Minnesota, the metro area, and southern Minnesota.

Replacing a diesel bus with an electric one can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 29 tons, the equivalent of taking six passenger vehicles off the road. Each bus has a 100-mile range on a full charge.

One electric school bus is already operating in Minnesota, serving the Lakeville Public School District.

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If the pilot program is successful, MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop said the goal would be to make more investments in the future.

“This innovative pilot will make cleaner bus technology more accessible for schools, and provide valuable information about how we can continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota,” she said.

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The MPCA will grant successful applicants up to $275,000, or 75% of the total project cost, whichever is less.