Funding coming available in 2022 for Electric School Buses

Kids smiling in school bus window

My ongoing mantra is that buses in general are great (they make public education possible!). I also love the people who drive them, ride them and work on them. Electric school buses (ESB’s) are especially great, because they support the health of all those people and their communities, plus the climate we all share.

But, like most change, switching to electric buses can be really hard. Support is needed to succeed, especially given how harshly stressed most fleets are with driver shortages. This newsletter gathers, curates and condenses information on ESB’s to save people’s time, and to make ESB’s more accessible and understandable (the communities with the oldest buses and worst air quality are often the most strapped for time). See Glossary below for a quick-start overview of ESB information..

The EPA’s 5 billion dollar Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) plans to launch in April 2022, starting with a rebate program to replace old buses with new, by way of a direct nationwide solicitation to school districts, Tribal schools, etc. (they are not going through state agencies). Guidance to appear in mid March. To receive the CSBP newsletter sign up here. EPA is asking everyone’s help in spreading the word on the funding opportunity, especially to underserved school districts (feel free to forward this newsletter).

Technical assistance to school bus fleets interested in starting to electrify is available here from WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative. Oregon school districts (I’m in Oregon) can also get assistance in applying for funds from me and Neil Baunsgard (we run the Electric Bus Learning Project, just reply to this newsletter).

1,738 electric school buses (ESB’s) are currently funded, ordered, delivered or operating in the U.S. (CALSTART). But 95% of the nation’s nearly half million school buses are diesel. Lots of tension when new technology meets incumbent technology.

Imagine how these buses might talk to each other in the bus yard.