Below, you can find important resources related to the Mid-Atlantic Electric School Bus Experience Project (MEEP). MEEP, over its 4 year life, was a successful project that closed at the end of 2023. Despite closing, Virginia Clean Cities still provides resources for districts seeking to transition to electric buses. To read more about the conclusion of the project, please visit this post.

Preparing for Electric School Buses: Information and Resources

After nearly four years of experience working with school buses, the Mid-Atlantic Electric School Bus Experience Project (MEEP) team compiled the lessons learned and the resources we gathered in one place. This guide is intended to be a resource for school districts pursuing Electric School Buses (ESBs). Whether you are new to ESBs, have ESBs on order, or have been operating ESBs and are looking to expand your fleet, this guide has information for you!

Community Action Counts

Less than 1% of the school bus fleet in the United States is electric, which means millions of school children are still subjected to harmful exhaust fumes from older diesel school buses. Diesel emissions are linked to many concerning health impacts from dizziness, headaches, asthma, and allergy symptoms, to cardiopulmonary disease and cancer. Diesel emissions have also been found to impact classroom performance. Children are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of diesel exhaust because of their developing bodies and lungs, narrower airways, and faster breathing rates compared to adults. Fortunately, momentum for zero-emission electric school buses is building. However, advocates are needed to mobilize and expedite the transition to cleaner school bus transportation.

Ways you can make your voice heard

Parents are key players in making the transition to electric buses by voicing their support to their school districts. Campaigns like “Mothers Out Front” are leading grass-roots efforts for school administrators to ditch dirty diesel and adopt clean electric buses.

Mothers Out Front ESB Campaign

Parents and community members can also show their support of electric school bus adoption by letting their congressional leaders know they back important legislation like the Clean Commute for Kids Act. In addition, organizations like Generation180 make it easy to share your support through their simple online form. 

Gen180 Online Support Form

Take action tool kits are another effective way parents and community members can mobilize schools to adopt electric buses. Check out the tool kit from The Dream Corp that provides inspiration and action ideas for getting your school started down the path towards clean transportation. 

The Dream Corps Take Action Toolkit

Community Action Success Story

Community support can provide the push that many school districts need to make the transition to electric. Such was the case when Miami 6th grader, Holly Thorpe, used her science fair project to influence her local school district’s decision to begin transitioning to EV buses. The 6th grader’s experiment was focused on measuring the CO2 levels in and around idling school buses as they waited to pick children up at the end of the day.

It wasn’t just Holly who garnered all of this support. Michele Drucker, a parent of another child at Holly’s school and lawyer, took an interest in the project. The combination of the excitement created by Holly’s science experiment among students and parents and Ms. Drucker’s experience in organizing and sustainability created the perfect opportunity to turn the data from Holly’s school project into actual results. They with Holly’s data to get backing from 4 key groups, parents, students, bus drivers, and community members. With the support of these groups, they convinced the school district to look into the VW Settlement fund to purchase the district’s first EV buses.

The combination of the excitement created by Holly’s science experiment among students and parents and Ms. Drucker’s experience in organizing and sustainability created the perfect opportunity to turn the data from Holly’s school project into actual results. While Holly’s project was not very technologically complex, it was easy to communicate and the results demonstrated real impacts on the students’ and drivers’ health and wellbeing. This got peoples’ attention.

Benefits of Electric School Buses

In total, there are close to a half of a million school buses on the road today. When analyzing fuel types, the vast majority are diesel buses that spew toxic tailpipe emissions that negatively effect the millions of children riding them, as well as the communities they operate in. To alleviate the negative side effects, electric school buses introduced the ability to facilitate operations using clean, zero tailpipe emission equipment.

Electric school buses are an exciting tool for school districts as they protect the health of children, improve local air quality, help achieve sustainability goals and reduce operating costs.

With the growth of electric school buses in North America, every major North American school bus manufacturer is offering electric school buses, and orders and deployments are increasing around the country.

Trainings and Technical Support Library

Electric School Bus Training Connections

Full slate of training videos:

Learn the basics about electric school buses with our Electric School Bus Training Connections Series! In these videos, we review the ins and outs of a Jouley electric school bus and highlight some of the differences between traditional diesel school buses and electric school buses.

Learn more about the Thomas Built Jouley Electric Bus here!

NREL’s Electric School Bus Technical Assistance Training Videos

Full Slate of Education Videos

This technical assistance video series is for K-12 schools interested in implementing electric school buses. The series kicks off with an introduction to Clean Cities and a discussion about how local Clean Cities coalitions can provide education and technical assistance throughout the implementation process, as well as an introduction to electric school buses, key decision factors, charging infrastructure and vehicle availability.

These modules introduce the Clean Cities Coalition Network and discusses how Clean Cities coalitions can assist school districts in learning about electric school buses and introduce the key benefits and challenges of adopting electric school buses.

Planning for Clean Pupil Transportation Webinar

On June 14th, 2022, the Mid-Atlantic Electric School Experience Project (MEEP) hosted an informational webinar on what to consider when preparing for electric school buses. With an influx of funding opportunities for electric school buses, it is our goal to make sure that folks are up to speed as they begin to consider electrifying their school bus fleet.

Virginia School Bus Charging Assessment Workshop

On November 4th, 2021, the Virginia Department of Education hosted numerous experts for a virtual Virginia School Bus Charging Assessment Workshop. The workshop provided a ton of resources on assessing charging infrastructure needs for electric school buses. The workshop featured the following speakers:

Informational Blog Posts

Funding Opportunities

EPA DERA School Bus Rebate Program

EPA – Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2021

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 allows EPA to offer rebates to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier diesel vehicles. Typically opened in the fall, this program offers a lottery rebate for vehicle replacements. In the past, this porgram has supplied up to $65,000 per bus to go towards an battery-electric replacement. This program does have a scrappage requirement, in an effort to reduce emissions produced by old dirty diesel engines. 

EPA Clean School Bus Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 authorizes EPA to offer rebates to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission (ZE) models. The 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Rebates process includes account registration, application submission, review and selection by EPA, purchase order submission and request for payment, payment receipt, new bus delivery and old bus replacement and close out.

For more information, find our summary here.

WRI Electric School Bus Funding and Financing Opportunities

WRI is tracking Electric School Bus Funding and Financing Opportunities, visit their site to download the updated list today!