Millions of students ride the bus to school every day, but less than 1% of those school buses are electrified. We’re working with partners and communities to change that.

Exhaust from diesel school buses – which account for the vast majority of school buses on the road today – has proven links to serious physical health and cognitive development issues for students. And children from low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately subjected to this harmful air pollution.

Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions, meaning they offer clean and healthy rides. It’s time for an equitable transition to electric school buses nationwide – because every student in every district deserves clean air on their ride to school, starting with those most impacted by diesel pollution.

Electrifying the entire fleet of U.S. school buses would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions while advancing manufacturing and battery development infrastructure for medium-and-heavy-duty electric vehicles across the board. Together, this could create a tipping point for decarbonizing the entire U.S. transport sector – responsible for almost 40% of the nation’s GHG emissions.

Learn more about the Electric School Bus Initiative

WRI is working with partners, including communities, school districts, NGOs, businesses, and local, state and national government, to help build unstoppable momentum in the transition to electric school buses.

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Implementation resources & tools

In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, 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.

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.

Together with partners, WRI is working in five areas of focus:

Support school districts in accelerating the equitable transition to electric school buses

WRI is working with school districts, communities and partner organizations to get more electric school buses on the road in more districts nationwide. We’re supporting school districts – particularly those in low-income areas, communities of color and communities disproportionately impacted by diesel exhaust pollution – with technical assistance. And we’re developing localized electric school bus transition plans for selected school districts. With record electric school bus investments on the way, we’re also helping school districts access federal, state and local funds, prioritizing historically underserved districts.

Collaborate with manufacturers across the electric school bus supply chain in preparing for an equitable and sustainable transition

WRI is working with manufacturing supply chain stakeholders to identify industry bottlenecks, increase ESB capacity and availability, and lower purchase costs. We’re partnering with manufacturers, suppliers, non-profit organizations, community colleges and other stakeholders to foster an equitable transition from fossil fuels to electric school buses with a focus on workforce preparation.

Work with electric utilities to improve interconnection and investments for electric school bus charging infrastructure, including supportive rates and tariffs

WRI is bringing together electric utilities, policymakers, school districts and private fleet operators to identify and advance equity-oriented electric-system solutions. This includes innovative opportunities in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-anything (V2X) technologies designed to improve grid reliability and resiliency, provide mobile power during disasters and advance renewable energy integration.

Engage policymakers to drive policies that grow demand and reduce barriers, and to increase electric school bus public funding

WRI is engaging policymakers in the federal government, state governments and municipalities to usher in the policy solutions and funding needed to reduce barriers to equitable school bus electrification. We’re helping communities make their voices heard and advocating for solutions that drive an equity-first transition to electric school buses.

Partner with communities pursuing school bus electrification, and provide the tools and resources to make it happen

WRI is working collaboratively with partners and community organizations – many of whom have been leading in the electric school bus space for years – to bring about an equitable transition to electric school buses. We're working to center the voices of community members in every school district.

Electric School Bus Advisory Council

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  • Maia D. Bellon, Partner, Cascadia Law Group
  • Maria Bocanegra, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Curt Macysyn, Executive Director, National School Transportation Association
  • Mari McClure, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power
  • Solyana Mesfin, High school student & Student Ex Officio Member of the Kentucky Board of Education
  • Melissa Miles, Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Patty Monahan, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
  • Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia
  • Andre Perry, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings
  • Gil Quiniones, CEO, ComEd
  • Victor Rojas, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Capital Advisors
  • Gilbert Blue Feather Rosas, Director II Sustainability & Adaptation, Modesto City Schools
  • Nathaniel Smith, Founder & Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity
  • Erica Swinney Staley, Executive Director, Manufacturing Renaissance
  • Carol Tyson, Government Affairs Liaison, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • Johana Vicente, Chispa National Senior Director at League of Conservation Voters
  • Karen Wayland, CEO, GridWise Alliance
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Harold Wimmer, National President & CEO, American Lung Association
  • Kelsey Wirth, Co-founder & Chair, Mothers Out Front
  • Curtis Wynn, CEO, SECO Energy

We’re Working with Stakeholders Nationwide

Map of United States with states highlighted by priority state #1, priority state #2, and ESB engagement states.

WRI is partnering with school districts, electric utilities, and state and local governments across the United States to accelerate an equitable transition to electric school buses. As of January 2022, WRI is working directly with school districts and/or electric utilities in 18 states and has identified 11 priority states for policymaker partnerships.

 

Establishing Partner

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