The state has released an Electric School Bus Roadmap and The Electric School Bus Guidebook to help New York public schools transition bus fleets to zero-emission. These new resources provide school districts and bus operators with the technical and financial assistance necessary to remove fossil fuel vehicles from service and help reduce transportation emissions with a focus on disadvantaged communities and high-need school districts. As part of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal, New York is requiring that all new school buses sold in the be zero-emission by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emission by 2035.
The New York State Electric School Bus Roadmap outlines costs, challenges and proposed recommendations that New York State and key partners – including utilities, manufacturers, and operators – can implement. It also covers vehicle choice, procurement, and fleet planning options that will accelerate zero-emission school bus adoption. Highlights of the roadmap include:
- Electric school buses currently on the market can be affordable and attainable for schools when available state and federal incentive programs are utilized, making the cost of owning and operating an electric school bus comparable to, or lower than, a diesel or gasoline bus.
- Electric school buses can meet the bus route needs of most schools which have an average bus route of 80 miles per day.
- Low cost Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers provide sufficient power for electric school buses through overnight charging. Ninety-six percent of school buses, outside of New York City, return to depots for at least 12 hours overnight.
The roadmap will be updated every three years to reflect changing zero-emission school bus market conditions.
Additionally, The Electric School Bus Guidebook provides information and resources for school districts and bus operators to help them become more familiar with key terms and processes for transitioning to zero-emission school bus fleets. The first three guides focus on the benefits of zero-emission buses, the procurement process, and charging stations to inform discussions with school boards and the public. More guides will be added to the main guidebook throughout 2023 and will cover best practices for bus routing, safety, workforce development, and technician training. The guidebook will continue to be updated periodically as new information becomes available to receive these updates, sign up on NYSERDA’s Electric School Bus web page.
Both the roadmap and guidebook pinpoint critical factors and decisions that school districts and bus operators face when considering clean bus options. Zero-emission buses include both battery electric buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses which are expected to be available for purchase in New York State in the coming years. Both types of buses eliminate diesel and gasoline fumes that can drift into, and then linger within buses – negatively impacting air quality and child health.
“As New York State continues to lead the way in the fight against climate change, we must address the ways that fossil-fuel powered transportation directly affects our families and communities with emissions from school buses at the top of that list,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Providing the tools for school districts to swap out diesel and gas school buses with zero-emission bus fleets will help students and their communities across the state breathe cleaner air and enjoy a healthier way of life.”
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Our roadmap and guidebook will provide school districts and bus operators with the latest information to enhance their fleets with zero-emission buses through proper planning, purchasing, and financing. Many schools have sustainability goals and want to invest in solutions like clean transportation, particularly in underserved areas– providing healthier neighborhoods for more children and families to live, work and go to school in.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Governor Hochul’s ongoing commitment to clean transportation is helping improve air quality and transform the way our students and families travel. Historic support from $500 million in the Environmental Bond Act as well as federal climate investments will further complement this roadmap to give schools the resources they need to advance and embrace the transition zero-emission buses and build a cleaner and greener future for the next generation.”