Transitioning to Electric School Buses

In 2022, New York established a first-in-the-nation requirement to electrify the state’s entire school bus fleet, so that students won’t breathe dangerous diesel exhaust fumes from their own buses on the way to school. As part of this important investment in air quality and student health, all new school buses purchased by 2027 must be zero-emission, and all school buses on the road must be zero-emission by 2035.

How to Get Started:

  1. Outline your fleet electrification plan with planning support and assistance
  2. Connect with your utility
  3. Leverage funding and incentives to buy your first bus and chargers (see options below)

As school districts across New York embark on this journey to electrify their school bus fleets, NYLCVEF and our partners are here to help. The New York School Bus Incentive Program has made funding available to support this transition – and is now open!

In addition to the resources below, sign up with NYLCVEF to receive updates about upcoming events surrounding the transition.

Available Funding for Electric School Buses

Unprecedented funding is available for electric school buses, including $500 million for New York schools through the Environmental Bond Act, as well as funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $5 billion Clean School Bus Program. 

  • New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP): The first $100 million of the $500 million Bond Act funding for electric school buses is now available on a first-come first-served basis for vehicles, so school districts should begin working with their dealers now to apply for these funds.

    As of March 5, 2024, NYSERDA is also accepting Charging Voucher Applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchasers (who are districts or fleet owners who will own the charger) can apply this funding for ESBs they purchased after Jan 1, 2023. To submit a Charging Voucher Application, Purchasers must access the NYSBIP Charging Voucher Portal and create an account.

    Check out WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative cheat sheet to help understand the program. 

  • The EPA Clean School Bus Program: This $5 billion program, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides funding to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. During open application periods, school districts can apply for hundreds of thousands of dollars per electric school bus, which can be used to cover upfront purchase costs, infrastructure installation, and more. Details on the Clean School Bus Program can be found here.
  • The EPA Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program (opened on April 24, 2024): The EPA plans to award up to $932 million in competitive grant funding for the replacement of existing non-zero-emission Class 6 and 7 heavy-duty vehicles with zero-emission Class 6 and 7 heavy-duty vehicles. The application deadline is July 25, 2024 at 11:59PM (ET).
  • IRA Tax Credits: Tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act will be available to further support purchases of ESBs and charging infrastructure. Tax-exempt entities such as school districts are eligible to receive these tax credits as a direct payment. For example, the Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicles (section 45W) tax credit can provide up to $40,000 per bus for eligible ESB purchases. The Alternative Fuel Refueling Property (section 30C) tax credit offers up to $100,000 per charging installation. The EPA has specified in its Q&A document that these tax credits can be stacked with Clean School Bus Program funds.

    If a district put an electric school bus or charging infrastructure into service in an eligible fiscal year, they may be able to claim these tax credits. We encourage districts to check out the Pre-Filing Registration User Guide and video from the IRS and consult their legal and accounting teams. These credits could help districts reduce their electrification costs by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars! 

Support is Available: 

  • Joint Office Technical Assistance – get your questions about electric school buses, charging infrastructure and more answered:

Other Resources to Support Your Electric School Bus Journey

Sign up with NYLCVEF to receive updates and information about upcoming events surrounding the transition.


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