The Mid-Atlantic Electric School Bus Experience Project (MEEP) provides schools with an introduction to electric school bus technology. Through working with Clean Cities Coalitions, and other partners, MEEP aims to provide free electric school bus demos in select districts in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington DC.
MEEP is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The project allows school districts to gain experience with electric school buses from multiple manufacturers, evaluate vehicle performance (including comparison to baseline conventional fuel buses), and provide valuable information about incorporating electric school bus technologies into their fleets.
Main Components of MEEP
- Help school districts to plan for deployment including identification of appropriate routes
- Engage stakeholders to build awareness of electric school buses and educate them about the partnerships and activities needed to support deployment
- Staff training to support operations and collect data on vehicle performance
- Data and data analysis to support evaluation of the project
Request for Qualifications
Virginia Clean Cities is each seeking qualifications from prospective School Partners. This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is intended to determine basic eligibility and level of commitment in order to select School Partners. Recognizing that this technology will be new to many potential applicants, Virginia Clean Cities coordinators are available to support you through this process.
Interested candidates should respond to the following questions in the MEEP Short-Term Demonstration RFQ application.
Benefits of Electric School Buses
Protect the Health of Children
Improve Local Air Quality
Achieve Sustainability Goals
Reduce Operating Costs
There are close to a half of a million school buses on the road today, the vast majority of which are diesel buses that spew toxic tailpipe emissions that negatively effect the millions of children riding them and the communities they operate in. One apparent solution to this problem is to switch to clean, zero tailpipe emission, electric school buses.
Electric school buses are an exciting tool for school districts to implement as they protect the health of children, improve local air quality, help achieve sustainability goals, and reduce operating costs!
Additionally, they are now being offered by every major North American school bus manufacturer, and orders and deployments are increasing around the country.
Current Electric School Buses in Virginia
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. Druckers’ 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. Druckers’ 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.
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
EPA- Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Following the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the EPA will offer a total of $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 to fund the replacement of existing school buses with low- or zero-emission school buses. For the first cycle of funding, EPA intends to open a rebate program as early as April 2022. Each year, $500 million will be available exclusively for electric school buses and $500 million will be available for electric buses and multiple types of cleaner alternative fuel school buses.
More information will be available in the coming months. Right now, the EPA is accepting feedback on this program, to provide your feedback on this program use this form or email firstname.lastname@example.org . The EPA has also created a dedicated listserv for the program. Sign up for the listserv today to keep up to date on program announcements!
For more info please contact:
Virginia Clean Cities Program Coordinator