Our Electric School Bus Market Study and Electric School Bus U.S. Buyer's Guide give you the information you need about all the electric school buses on the market!
The updated 2023 Electric School Bus Market Study and Electric School Bus U.S. Buyer's Guide are a comprehensive guide offering school districts and others an overview of the electric school bus market and a catalog that presents electric school bus models available today with detailed vehicle specifications.
These publications are intended to serve as a resource primarily for school districts, transportation directors and other school bus operators exploring school bus electrification and provide them with a better understanding of the state of the electric school bus market and available offerings. It aims to present the growing interest and investment in the sector along with key aspects of the current technology. A scan of the market explores the growing demand for these buses and how manufacturers are positioning themselves to meet that demand. The catalog presents electric school bus models available today with detailed vehicle specifications allowing readers to compare various models and weigh important considerations.
- School districts across the United States are transitioning to electric school buses (ESBs), and momentum grew in 2022 due to funding from the Clean School Bus Program. As of December 2022, 895 districts (or private operators) had committed to procuring 5,612 ESBs (1.2 percent of the current fleet) across a range of operating conditions and in all 50 states. States and municipalities are setting electrification goals while manufacturers scale production.
- Although diesel-burning school buses have lower upfront costs, ESBs offer access to record funding, have the potential for lower operations and maintenance costs, and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Bidirectional-capable vehicles can store and deliver energy using “vehicle-to-everything” technology, which bolsters resiliency.
- Communities that have been historically disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by air pollution and must be prioritized for access to ESBs and their benefits.
- As of March 2023, 24 models were available from nine manufacturers for Type A, C, and D buses: 18 newly manufactured models and 6 repowered models.
- Each generation of buses becomes more advanced: many manufacturers are on their third or fourth iteration, some further along. The nameplate range of current models is between 75 and 210 miles, enough to reliably cover most routes in operation.
Electric school buses offer access to record funding, have the potential for lower operations and maintenance costs compared to diesel-burning school buses, and produce zero tailpipe emissions.
Momentum around electric school buses (ESBs) is growing in the United States as school districts across the country transition to this cleaner and healthier technology, bolstered by an infusion of new funding from the federal government. The ESB transition will require a coordinated effort among numerous entities, including school district leadership and staff; school bus manufacturers and contractors; utilities; policy makers; regulators; local advocacy organizations; and community members.
In the “Status of the Electric School Bus Market” section, we explore the growing demand for these buses and how manufacturers are positioning themselves to meet that demand through a scan of the market. Next, in “Bus Basics,” we explain key components of an ESB and discuss the charging and related infrastructure that is needed to support these buses. The core element of the publication presents a catalog of the 24 ESB models available as of early 2023 with detailed vehicle specifications allowing readers to compare various models and weigh important considerations. We conclude by summarizing the status of school bus electrification to date.
Approach and Methodology
The content of Electric School Bus Market Study and Electric School Bus U.S. Buyer's Guide has been gathered from a variety of sources, compiling information on models available in the U.S. from publicly available vehicle specifications sheets confirmed through discussions with bus manufacturers when possible.
We explore school district experiences with ESBs representing a variety of use cases in the U.S. – rural, suburban and urban; warm and cold weather, including extreme temperatures; and early adopters further along in their process as well as those in earlier stages of procurement. We compiled recent research and reporting on school district commitments and experiences and supplemented public information with conversations with school districts and other partners. We plan to update this publication annually as new vehicles come to market and existing models are altered.
This resource is one of many from WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative and is intended to be updated to expand upon topics like funding and financing, alternative service models and utility engagement.
Appendix: Electric School Bus Price Tracker — State-Level Sources
Find data on the current landscape of electric school bus prices in this appendix to the ESB Initiative's Electric School Bus U.S. Market Study and Buyer’s Guide.
Download Electric School Bus Price Tracker — State-Level Sources here.