Your Kids Health: Why Electric School Busses are So Important

Even though diesel exhaust was classified as a known carcinogen to humans in 2012, many school districts continue to use diesel buses for their fuel efficiency. Electric Busses are the solution.
Electric school bus at a charging station with promotional text highlighting the benefits for children's health.
Electric school bus at a charging station with promotional text highlighting the benefits for children's health.

Electric Buses: The Healthy School Choice

School bus fleets in the United States are switching from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles. By Q2 2023, the number of committed electric school buses in the US was approximately 6,000, according to the World Resources Institute. The number covers buses that have been awarded, ordered, delivered, or are in operation. Here’s what you need to know about why students need EV school buses, and how to get started at your public or private school.  

Why do we need electric school buses?

The switch to electric school buses is driven by the goal of improving student wellness.   

Even though diesel exhaust was classified as a known carcinogen to humans in 2012, many school districts continue to use diesel buses for their fuel efficiency. Ground-level ozone, carbon, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and other pollutants can be found in Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP), as noted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS). 

School bus fumes pose a significant risk as they easily infiltrate vehicle cabins, schoolyards, playgrounds, and residential areas. Especially in cities, children may be unable to escape harmful vehicle fumes. Students’ cognitive abilities can be hindered and their brain structure altered by TRAP.  

Why do electric buses make sense? 

The elimination of tailpipe emissions in electric school buses eliminates the risk of students being exposed to harmful vehicle fumes. The greenhouse gas emissions of electric school buses vary based on the origin of the charging electricity, but they will decrease as more utility companies transition to renewable energy.

Removing ICE buses will greatly improve the health of students in schools. School boards can take advantage of funding programs to replace ICE buses and improve the well-being of their students.  

Funding options for schools looking to transition their bus fleets.

Through the Clean School Bus Program, the US federal government is supporting the adoption of electric school buses. From 2022 to 2026, the CSB plans to allocate $5 billion to replace current school buses with zero- or low-emission models. There are two methods of funding for the CSB: Rebates and Grants.  

In 2022, the CSB distributed $965 million to fund school bus replacements at nearly 400 schools through rebate funding. The EPA anticipates allocating over $500 million in funding through the 2023 CSB rebate program and an extra $400 million in grants. Applications for the 2023 CSB Rebate Program are being accepted by the EPA until Jan. 31st, 2024 at 4pm ET.  

State, local and utility funding for electric school buses 

Electric school buses are not only funded by federal government agencies. There are funding programs available from individual states and electric utilities for transitioning school bus fleets. As an example, Nevada Energy’s Electric School Bus Incentives program offers a 75% rebate on electric buses and chargers.  

Find state-level electric school bus funding programs with the help of the Alternative Fuels Data Center search tool. The process is straightforward. Simply click on the state you want to know about and get an overview of the electric vehicle incentives there.  

The Electric School Bus Initiative supports the electrification of school bus fleets in America and provides information and resources for schools wanting to switch to electric buses.   

You may find cost-reducing programs from local utilities. Electric bus fleets may soon have the ability to send electricity back to the grid during peak energy events with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G or VTG) technology. Fleet managers may soon be able to decrease their electric bill by participating in a V2G school bus program (or joining their utility’s demand response program), even though this technology is still being developed. 

What types of chargers are needed for school bus fleets?

EV chargers are a necessity for every electric school bus fleet, but what is required for an electric bus fleet? 

 When it comes to fleets, EnergyOne EV Charging usually advises using both Level 2 chargers and DC fast chargers.  

Level 2 chargers can charge a vehicle battery in four to eight hours, depending on the vehicle and charging station amperage. The budget tradeoff arises from the higher installation costs and power requirements of DC fast chargers, despite their faster charging speed. By having both types of chargers, bus fleets can optimize their charging strategy.  

Conclusion 

It’s crucial to switch from diesel to electric school buses for the health and safety of students nationwide. The adoption of electric school buses helps create a healthier environment by reducing harmful greenhouse gases. Ready to get started? Ask your EnergyOne Charging expert how to plan for your electric school bus fleet. 

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