New York Prepping School Fleets for Transition to Zero Emissions


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced the New York State Electric School Bus Roadmap and The Electric School Bus Guidebook to help New York P-12 schools transition bus fleets to zero-emission.

These new resources provide school districts and bus operators with the technical and financial assistance necessary to remove fossil fuel vehicles from service and help reduce transportation emissions with a focus on disadvantaged communities and high-need school districts.

The announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and New York’s requirements that all new school buses sold in the state be zero-emission by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emission by 2035. 
“As New York State continues to lead the way in the fight against climate change, we must address the ways that fossil-fuel powered transportation directly affects our families and communities with emissions from school buses at the top of that list,” Hochul says. “Providing the tools for school districts to swap out diesel and gas school buses with zero-emission bus fleets will help students and their communities across the state breathe cleaner air and enjoy a healthier way of life.” 
The New York State Electric School Bus Roadmap outlines costs, challenges and proposed recommendations that New York State and key partners – including utilities, manufacturers, and operators – can implement. It also covers vehicle choice, procurement, and fleet planning options that will accelerate zero-emission school bus adoption. Highlights of the roadmap include: 

  • Electric school buses currently on the market can be affordable and attainable for schools when available state and federal incentive programs are utilized, making the cost of owning and operating an electric school bus comparable to, or lower than, a diesel or gasoline bus. 
  • Electric school buses can meet the bus route needs of most schools which have an average bus route of 80 miles per day. 
  • Low cost Level 2 electric vehicle chargers provide sufficient power for electric school buses through overnight charging. Ninety-six percent of school buses, outside of New York City, return to depots for at least 12 hours overnight. 

The roadmap will be updated every three years to reflect changing zero-emission school bus market conditions. 

Additionally, The Electric School Bus Guidebook provides information and resources for school districts and bus operators to help them become more familiar with key terms and processes for transitioning to zero-emission school bus fleets. The first three guides focus on the benefits of zero-emission buses, the procurement process, and charging stations to inform discussions with school boards and the public.

More guides will be added to the main guidebook throughout 2023 and will cover best practices for bus routing, safety, workforce development, and technician training.

The guidebook will continue to be updated periodically as new information becomes available. To receive these updates, sign up on NYSERDA’s Electric School Bus web page.

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