Here’s Where Electric School Bus Adoption Stands in the U.S.

As of this month, U.S. school districts and fleet operators have committed to 12,275 electric school buses in 38 states, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. World Resources Institute (IRG). That’s about the size of the entire school bus fleet of North Carolina.

WRI defines “engaged” as:

[W]When a school district, bus dealer, or fleet operator has received funding to purchase it or has entered into a formal purchase agreement with a manufacturer. Committed buses also include those that have been delivered to the school district or fleet operator and those that are in service.

The number of electric school buses has jumped by more than 10,000 since the WRI dataset was released in January 2022, and there has been a nearly 10-fold increase since the WRI began tracking the adoption in August 2021.

The reason for this big jump in 2022 is that in late December 2021, bus dealership Midwest Transit Equipment and commercial electric vehicle manufacturer SEA Electric announced that they were partnership to modernize 10,000 school buses with battery power systems over the next five years. The deal will cover Type A and Type C school buses, and the location of the vehicles has yet to be announced.

Only about 5% of these buses are currently delivered or operational. The WRI reports that “the average time from allocation of funds to delivery of the electric school bus is approximately 16 months”.

Map: WRI

Thirty-eight states have committed to using electric school buses, including Mississippi and Montana, since January 2022. California is the No. 1 state, with more than 1,000 electric buses committed. That’s well ahead of No. 2 Maryland, with 337 buses committed. This is because California has very good incentive programs.

Aside from the 10,000 bus contract mentioned above, the VW settlement has funded the largest number of electric school buses to date: 26 out of 38 states have used VW funds to purchase electric buses.

The number of electric school buses will increase, thanks to incentives such as the recently announced federal clean school bus program, and WRI notes:

If progress toward an all-electric school bus fleet is to continue, policymakers at the federal and state levels, including state utility regulators, must increase funding opportunities and ensure they are accessible. communities that would benefit the most from school bus electrification.

Read more: Biden administration launches $5 billion clean electric school bus program

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