Electric School Buses


The time to transition Minnesota's diesel school buses to clean, zero-emission school buses is right now!

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act gives the EPA $5 billion dollars over the next five years to financially support the deployment of electric school buses. With this funding, schools will be able to apply to make zero-emission school buses a reality in our communities.

The first round of funding is already in our rearview mirror, which means we only have four rounds remaining. We expect the second round of
the EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate program will open in the Fall of 2023.

Last year, Minnesota only secured FOUR buses. Let’s work together to triple this amount in 2023!


Featured Event

It’s Time to Go Electric!
November 1, 2023 | 6:30-8 p.m.
Thanks to federal funding, it’s easier than ever to get FREE electric buses in our school districts. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program is open right now! Join us to learn all about this program, the benefits of electric school buses, and how you can work with your school to make electric school buses a reality in your community.


Information For Schools

As our advocacy team has spoken with schools, school boards, and others about this funding opportunity for zero-emission buses, we want to address any concerns that this funding is out of reach.

  • This is NEW funding, not Volkswagen money connected with the MPCA.  
  • There are no environmental justice requirements to receive this money. Funds are distributed via a lottery system. Minnesota benefits if as many schools as possible apply. 
    • However, school districts listed in the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) school district estimates for 2021 as having 20% or more students living in poverty; rural school districts, and tribal school districts are prioritized to ensure this program is getting to the communities who need it most. 
    • 2023 Grant Program prioritized school district list is here
  • Buses and chargers are fully paid for by the federal government.
  • Even if your district gets buses through a contractor, you can still apply. Two-thirds of buses in Minnesota are owned by contractors, but all these buses are eligible. The school needs to play a part in the process however. More details on the application process are in the EPA’s website.
  • This funding differs from past funding opportunities. It does not have the same requirements as previously-announced funding from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  
  • Qualified applicants aren’t limited to schools themselves. Eligible applicants include:
    • State and local governmental entities responsible for:
      1. providing bus service to 1 or more public school systems; or
      2. the purchase of school buses
    • Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, or tribally controlled schools that are responsible for:
      1. providing school bus service to 1 or more Bureau of Indian Affairs-funded schools; or
      2. the purchase of school buses
    • Nonprofit School Transportation Associations
    • Eligible contractors
  • The funding comes in the form of a rebate. Applying schools are entered into a lottery once the application period is closed. Each fiscal year (2022-2026), the program will offer $500,000 for zero-emission buses only and another $500,000 for clean school buses and zero-emission buses. The total of each State’s grant awards each fiscal year cannot exceed 10 percent of the total amount awarded each fiscal year.

How to Apply for EPA Funds

The EPA Clean School Bus website offers information about program requirements, what’s needed to apply, and more via webinars, text, and more. Sign up for updates from the EPA and bookmark this page to keep up with the latest news on the program.

Before you apply:

  • Ensure your school district has applied for a federal unique identity number which is required to receive federal rebates and grant.
  • Set up a meeting with your district’s electric utility to discuss charging infrastructure and potential partnership to use vehicle to grid (V2G) to sell electric school bus power back to the grid during peak energy use hours.

Remember that the more Minnesota schools that apply, the more likely that Minnesota will be granted funds!


Don’t see the information you need? Email cleantransportation@mn350.org — We’re more than happy to help!

Why Transition to Electric Buses?

  • Transitioning to clean electric buses reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, improves children’s health, and positively impacts academic performance.
  • Diesel exposure on school buses lowers academic scores and increases school absenteeism.
  • Students on school buses are exposed to 5 to 15 times the levels of particle pollution than at nearby monitoring sites and up to four times the levels of a nearby car. 
  • Electric vehicle manufacturing provides more than 1,000 jobs in Minnesota, most of which are seen at the New Flyer (St. Cloud, MN) and Zeus Electric Chassis (White Bear Lake, MN) facilities. Most of the vehicles produced in Minnesota are shipped to other states with more ambitious climate goals.
  • Zeus Electric Chassis uses many Minnesota-based parts suppliers to build its electric vehicles, including electric school buses being developed. These parts suppliers are local and support communities in our state.
  • Lion Electric, one of the biggest manufacturers of electric school buses on the continent, is creating a new facility in neighboring Iowa, which will employ 750 people.
  • Some schools have already invested in solar panels to power their buildings. Pairing solar power with electric buses is a win for schools that could charge buses with local solar energy.
  • The total cost of ownership (TCO) of an electric school bus is only 10% higher over the buses 12-year lifespan, so affordability is less of a concern.
  • Replacing all of America’s school buses with electric buses could avoid an average of 5.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year which – the equivalent of taking about a million cars off the road.
  • Several states and cities across the country, including Minneapolis, have targets to 100% electrify their school bus fleets by 2040.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has a goal to ensure all new school buses are US-made and 100% emission-free by 2030.
  • School bus manufacturers have resources to help schools plan for bus fleet electrification and apply for electric school bus grants.


Asthma-inducing particulate matter levels are up to 15 times higher inside a diesel school bus than an electric school bus
Diesel particulate matter also increases the risk of asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, birth anomalies, and more
This is an equity issue. Areas in MN with the highest percentage of BIPOC residents have more than 5 times the rate of asthma emergency room visits related to air pollution compared to areas with more white residents

Did you know?

Schmitty & Sons was the first Minnesota bus company to invest in an all-electric bus and has been successfully transporting Lakeville ISD 194 students in their zero-emission bus since 2017!

In addition, the MPCA has awarded 5 school districts $2.1 million in grants to purchase 8 electric school buses.

Electric school buses are already being used in Minnesota, so we can build on their knowledge and best practices to successfully transition other schools to electric school buses.

Electric school bus.

About us

MN350 is part of the Coalition for Clean Transportation, a team of Minnesota-based clean energy, environmental, and social justice advocacy groups working on transportation improvement. As part of this coalition, MN350 wants to support schools in the transition from dirty diesel buses to zero-emission school buses as part of a larger goal to transition all vehicles — large and small — to zero emissions. We want to support schools, contractors, tribes, and communities interested in electrifying their school bus fleets.

Our team advocated for electric school buses to be taken seriously at the state level this legislative session — and we won! Now we are focusing on:

  • Connecting people who want to see their school districts get clean electric school buses and take advantage of this funding opportunity
  • Connecting schools to resources to apply for and receive electric school bus grants.

If you have questions, want to connect with others in your school district, or need advice on how to approach your school board about getting more electric school buses, please reach out to our team! cleantransportation@mn350.org