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 fiscal 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.

We are already halfway through the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, with 2 out of the 5 Clean School Bus Rebate Programs being completed, along with 1 of the Clean School Bus Grant Programs being completed. We are expecting to hear updates on which MN districts were awarded electric school buses for the 2023 Rebate round this April.

There is a lot in store for electric school buses in MN in 2024: The EPA is expecting to roll out the second round of their Clean School Bus Grant Program, the MPCA will roll out the final phase of their Volkswagen Settlement Electric School Bus Grant Program, and the Department of Commerce is going to eventually roll out their $13M State funded Electric School Bus Program. With all these programs coming down, we need your help! Join our Clean Transportation Team to make sure your district is able to utilize these FREE electric school buses!

Take Action!

The EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program is open right now, but the application can be daunting.

Your school district needs to hear from parents, kids, and community members in order to take time out of their busy schedules to apply.

We can’t let this opportunity pass us by! Write to your school district today and tell them: Our students deserve clean electric school buses.

 
Huge shoutout to the students at the University of Minnesota for their incredible work on this project!

Your dedication and creativity have been instrumental in advancing the movement for electric school buses in Minnesota. This video showcases the passion and talent of UMN students as they collaborate to make a significant impact. Thank you for lending your voices and skills to propel this important environmental initiative forward.

Watch now to see how these students are driving change and helping pave the way for a cleaner, greener future!

Information for Schools

Ready to apply? We're ready to support you! Click the pencil above to visit the application support page we put together just for you!

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