CALSTART Report Shows 27% Growth in Full-Size Zero-Emission Buses in U.S. to Total 3,533 | Jan 5, 2022

Fuel Cell Bus Deployment Doubled, But Still Lags Behind Battery-Electric Vehicles

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer Manfre
[email protected]

(Pasadena, CA) January 5, 2022 – CALSTART published its annual inventory of zero-emission buses, (ZEBs) “Zeroing in on ZEBs”, providing insight on the current state of ZEBs ahead of $5.25 billion in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s Low-No Program. Full-size ZEBs have grown to 3,533 buses nationally, an increase of 27% since the 2020 count. The report notes that most ZEB fleets are small, ten or fewer, so the coming funding will be instrumental in scaling fleets.

“Early adopters such as large transit agencies in California, New York, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon continue to lead, but still are not at scale,” said Jared Schnader, director of Bus Programs at CALSTART. “Smaller transit agencies and regions that are not familiar with zero-emission technologies need additional resources and effort to begin their transition.”

California continues to lead in the deployment of full-size ZEBs, with New York and Washington rounding out the leaderboard in the totals by state. This year’s report also includes a breakdown of full-size and small buses, as small ZEB deployment increased by 51%.

Fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) appear to be gaining interest, with California and Massachusetts adding to their FCEB fleets and Texas and Washington transit agencies adopting FCEBs for the first time. The 2021 total for FCEBs is 169, up from 87 in 2020. Long routes and operational needs can drive this choice as one FCEB can meet the operational needs of two battery-electric buses (BEBs). Additional factors such as infrastructure, cost, and owner/operator preference also influence the choice in technology.

Additional points in the report:

  • Airports have adopted 131 full-size and 119 small ZEBs. This increase represents 35% and 19% growth from 2020, respectively.
  • New York significantly increased its orders of full-size ZEBs, from 77 in 2020 to 195 in 2021, all of which are BEBs.
  • Of the 67 transit agencies that have small ZEBs, 22 only have one bus. Fifty-eight public agencies have four or fewer buses.

“Zeroing in on ZEBs” is based on data gathered primarily through local, state, and federal award documents, press releases, phone interviews, and validated via sales information from bus manufacturers. As there is no centralized accounting of ZEBs, and transit agency plans for adoption can shift and/or be delayed, it is important to note that figures contained in the report should not be considered static.


A national nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado and California and partners world-wide, CALSTART works with 280+ 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.