Have you Heard? Electric School Bus Programs Rising in US

Oct 16, 2023Transportation

The school bus industry has recently experienced a moderate level of technological change and development. Transportation companies continue to invest in technology, which improves transportation safety, providing more environmentally friendly service and improving quality of service. 

According to IBISWorld 2023 report, projects in the next 5 years fuel prices will continue to be volatile with an overall rise. Investing in electric vehicles now may help negate these future costs and instabilities. Rising concerns about the harmful effects of older diesel school buses on children’s health has led to increased pressure on school districts and industry operators to invest in newer school buses with lower emissions. Hybrid school buses were first used in 2008. This technology was introduced to the Twin Cities area in the fall of 2017.

As technology continues to develop, electric school buses are expected to become more common over the next five years, due to environmental concerns and projected increases in fuel prices.

Pros of Electric School Buses

  • Electric buses produce zero emissions, which means cleaner air for school kids and the planet.
  • Fuel and maintenance costs for electric buses are much lower than for diesel buses. There is no need for engine oil changes and no transmission or engine to maintain.
  • There are grant incentives for electric school buses, which may help to make it more affordable.
  • The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program (CBSP) was approved in 2021 to offer grants to help with the move to electric buses for companies. Looking into and applying for this grant may help negate costs associated with purchasing electric buses.

Cons of Electric School Buses

  • An electric school bus can cost from $200,000 to $400,000, while conventional diesel school buses run $100,000 to $150,000.
  • It takes a long time to recoup its price premium due to low usage patterns. School buses average of 66 miles per day, about half as much as a transit bus, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The large amount of time a school bus sits parked increases the time it takes to earn back the cost difference through fuel and maintenance savings.

Is your school bus company considering electric buses?

To bring you innovative solutions, our Transportation Group stays on top of industry benchmarking, trends, tools and technologies to ensure we give you the best possible advice. Smith Schafer professionals have serviced the transportation industry since 1971 and is committed to serving over 110 Minnesota transportation entities. We take great pride in consulting on various industry specific issues, as well as the broader needs of these companies and their owners. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.


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