The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean School Bus Program has launched, offering $5 billion over the next five years to support school bus electrification across the country. In its initial funding phase, $500 million in rebates is available.
School buses are one of the most well-positioned vehicle types for transitioning from diesel fuel to zero-emission electric operation: They have predictable duty cycles with morning and afternoon routes that allow for recharging overnight and in the middle of the day. The stable and low cost of electricity also has the opportunity to provide real savings for the estimated 181 million route miles that North Carolina school buses travel every year.
There are over 14,000 school buses in daily operation across the state — most powered by diesel fuel — providing transportation for nearly 800,000 North Carolina K-12 students. Each diesel bus replaced with an electric model would provide cleaner, healthier air for our most precious cargo while reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 0.25 tons and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 23 tons annually.
Below, we provide — using screenshots from a recent EPA webinar where appropriate — guidance for North Carolina schools interested in learning about or pursuing the Clean School Bus Program. If you are a school district in North Carolina, feel free to contact us with any questions. For additional supporting resources, reference the EPA, World Resources Institute and Alliance for Electric School Buses.
Guidelines for replacement include:
The following image outlines maximum funding amounts by district prioritization status, bus type and bus size. Electric buses fall under the “ZE” (zero-emission) bus type.
The following images detail 1) the maximum funding available for electric school bus charging infrastructure based on district prioritization status, and 2) what infrastructure expenses qualify.
The following image provides a high-level overview of the application process.