Electric School Bus Initiative

Cleaner air for healthier, more equitable communities and normalizing electric mobility for an entire generation

Project site: wri.org/electric-school-buses

The United States’ 480,000 school buses account for 80% of all buses nationwide, yet less than 1% are electrified. Electrifying the entire fleet of U.S. school buses would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 8 megatons per year and reduce emissions from all U.S. buses by 35% per year. This could create a tipping point for decarbonizing the entire U.S. transportation sector – responsible for almost 30% of the nation’s GHG emissions.

WRI aims to create unstoppable momentum over the next five years on a path toward electrifying the entire fleet of U.S. school buses by 2030. Overcoming the cost, infrastructure and policy barriers to mass adoption will require an expansive and inclusive approach. This project is supported by the Bezos Earth Fund.

The transition to electric vehicles is an industry-shifting change — one with enormous potential benefits for communities nationwide. Electric school buses can reduce operating expenses for school districts, create new jobs in green manufacturing and generate valuable storage for renewable energy via vehicle-to-grid technologies.

Communities will also benefit from quieter streets and cleaner air. These impacts will be particularly important in high-pollution corridors where underserved communities are disproportionately exposed to health risks.

WRI seeks to engage with the broader constellation of e-bus stakeholders to influence and build on growing electrification momentum.

WRI is tracking electric school bus adoption across the country, including factors like geography and demographics of the school districts they serve. This map shows where school buses have been announced, procured, delivered or are in operation.

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Growing Momentum

The transition to electric vehicles is an industry-shifting change. WRI seeks to engage with the broader constellation of e-bus stakeholders to influence and build on growing momentum. Recent momentum for the sector includes:

Our Approach

Along with partners, WRI's Electric School Bus Initiative will deliver outcomes in five major interconnected areas:

Aggregate demand to drive mass procurement of electric buses

Using a bottom-up approach, WRI, school districts and partner organizations are developing localized electric school bus transition plans and providing other school districts — particularly those in low-income areas — with technical assistance. By increases demand, WRI hopes to bring the electric bus industry to a tipping point of mass adoption.

Scale e-bus manufacturing and drive down unit costs.

WRI is working with original equipment manufacturers to increase e-bus manufacturing capabilities by 800% and make electric buses more cost-competitive against diesel models.

Develop innovative utility and private sector financing models and support smart charging infrastructure deployment.

For example, electrifying the entire school bus fleet can unlock 72 GW-hours of energy storage for utilities via vehicle-to-grid technologies, enabling new opportunities to expand businesses and integrate clean energy.

Unlock public funding and policy support for full electrification of school bus fleets.

WRI is building on recent momentum for electrifying diesel vehicles, such as the Zero Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Initiative and electric school bus proposals introduced in Congress.

Galvanize communities and stakeholders for an equitable and comprehensive shift towards e-buses by 2030.

To ensure this long-term commitment, WRI is centering schools and their communities, raising national e-bus awareness, prioritizing inclusive partnerships, emphasizing co-creation with local communities and implementing innovative engagement across all layers of the project.

To learn more, please contact Sue Gander, Director of the Electric School Bus Initiative.

Electric School Bus Advisory Council

  • Andre Perry, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings
  • Carol Tyson, Government Affairs Liaison, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • Curt Macysyn, Executive Director, National School Transportation Association
  • Curtis Wynn, President & CEO Roanoke Electric Cooperative & Subsidiaries
  • Gil Quiniones, President & CEO, New York Power Authority
  • Gil Rosas, Energy Education Specialist, Stockton Unified School District
  • Harold Wimmer, National President & CEO, American Lung Association
  • Johana Vicente, Chispa National Senior Director at League of Conservation Voters
  • Karen Wayland, CEO, GridWise Alliance
  • Kelsey Wirth, Co-founder & Chair, Mothers Out Front
  • Mari McClure, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power
  • Maria Bocanegra, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Melissa Miles, Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia
  • Nathaniel Smith, Founder & Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity
  • Patty Monahan, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Ryan Popple, Partner, G2 Venture Partners
  • Solyana Mesfin, High school student & Student Ex Officio Member of the Kentucky Board of Education
  • Victor Rojas, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Capital Advisors
  • Willett Kempton, Professor Marine Science & Policy, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware

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