Experiences on the Road to Electrification 

The vast majority of school buses on the road today have diesel exhaust, which has proven links to serious physical health and cognitive development issues for students. Electric school buses, on the other hand, have zero tailpipe emissions, meaning they offer clean and healthy rides.

In collaboration with partners and communities, WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative aims to build unstoppable momentum toward an equitable transition of the U.S. school bus fleet to electric by 2030, bringing health, climate and economic benefits to children and families across the country and normalizing electric mobility for an entire generation. 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.

The Electric School Bus Series illustrates how superintendents, fleet managers and school bus operators across North America have pursued school bus electrification in their own communities. The stories highlighted here demonstrate successful operation of electric school buses across a variety of operating conditions, geographies, utility types and funding ecosystems.

 

Healthier Air for Students in Stockton, California

This school district, which experiences some of the highest asthma rates in the state, combined partnerships and state funding to kick-start their electrification efforts.

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Elements: multiple funding streams; student engagement; air quality considerations

 

Progress from Our Northern Neighbors in Prince Edward Island, Canada

This school district provides a useful example for how government policy and financial support can combine to drive school bus fleet electrification. This example is especially relevant for school districts in cold climates and with drivers who take buses home between routes.

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Elements: cold weather; first responder training; full fleet transition aspiration

 

Wiring Up in Knox County, Missouri

This school district worked closely with its rural electric cooperative on electric mobility and found a creative way to fulfill vehicle scrappage requirements through converting its diesel bus into a coffee shop.

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Elements: rural; rural electric cooperative; student engagement; diesel and electric fuel cost comparison data

 

How North Carolina's Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is Planning for Seven Generations of Sustainability

This school district’s school bus contractor – Cherokee Boys Club – and the local tribe’s Air Quality Program teamed up for their three-phase electric school bus pilot.

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Elements: tribal; rural; mountainous terrain; investor-owned electric utility; contractor operated; diesel and electric fuel cost comparison data; full fleet transition aspiration

 

An Electrifying Partnership in Fairfax County, Virginia

This school district – the eighth largest school bus fleet in the country – is collaborating with their electric utility, Dominion Energy, to transition its entire fleet of 1,625 school buses to electric or zero-carbon alternatives by 2035.

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Elements: investor-owned electric utility; student engagement; full fleet transition aspiration

 

How Students in Salt Lake City Helped Advance an Equity Centered Plan

This school district is pairing electric school buses with on-site solar to meet a student-driven sustainability resolution aiming for school district carbon neutrality by 2040.

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Elements: student engagement; air quality considerations; solar; mountainous terrain; cold weather

 

Want to learn more from the Electric School Bus Series? Explore more stories here.