CALSTART: Biden Administration Takes Lead on Zero-Emission School Bus Deployment

WASHINGTON – The White House announced today the first round of funding for electric school buses (ESBs) as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. $500 million will be available to help school districts purchase vehicles and install infrastructure.

As of September 2021, there were 1,738 ESBs awarded, ordered, delivered, and deployed in the United States, according to CALSTART’s January 2022 report, Zeroing in on ESBs. However, there are approximately 500,000 school buses transporting 26 million students every day in the United States. The vast majority of those school buses run on diesel, producing exhaust that contains fine particles of carbon and toxic gases, including benzene, which is known to cause cancer.

The following is a statement from Jessica Olson, vice president of policy at CALSTART:

“The Biden Administration took an important step toward replacing old diesel school buses with low- and zero-emission school buses to benefit communities and school children who are currently burdened by unhealthy levels of air pollution caused by diesel-powered buses. This investment also supports American jobs and the growth of the electric vehicle supply chain and manufacturing capacity here in the United States. The next step is for school districts to get their planning and technical assistance lined up to make their transition effective and efficient.

“CALSTART research notes that school districts will save money, save time, and experience a smoother transition to the new technology if they plan ahead, reach out to ESB manufacturers, work with their local utilities on charging infrastructure, and give their bus drivers and mechanics time to adapt. We promote this planning process through CALSTART’s ongoing Electric School Bus Working Group, open to all U.S. school districts.

“School buses are well suited for zero-emission technology. U.S.-based manufacturing operations by companies such as Blue Bird, BYD, GreenPower Motor Company, IC Bus/Navistar, Lightning eMotors, Lion Electric, Motiv Power Systems, Phoenix Motor Cars and Thomas Built are ready to build these buses. The Administration is making a strong investment in clean-tech manufacturing jobs in Joliet, Illinois; High Point, North Carolina; Loveland, Colorado; Hayward, California; and other locations.”

Resources on ESBs:

Zeroing in on ESBs (Jan 2022)

Electric School Buses Market Study: A Synthesis of Current Technologies, Costs, Demonstrations, and Funding (Dec 2021)

Map of U.S., number of ESBs by state

Map of U.S., number of ESBs by EPA region

Fact Sheet 1:  7-Step Checklist for School Districts to Transition to Electric School Buses

Fact Sheet 2: Summary of ESB Demonstration Case Studies

Media Contact:

Jennifer Manfre
[email protected]


A nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado, California and central Europe and partners world-wide, CALSTART works with 300+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient, and clean high-tech transportation industry. We overcome barriers to modernization and the adoption of clean vehicles. CALSTART is changing transportation for good.