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New York state is getting a head start on the electric vehicle train! Or, as luck may have it, the electric school bus. While electric trucks are having a moment in the spotlight, you might see an electric bus sooner than you do a Ford F-150 Lightning on the streets.

The electric school buses will replace the current diesel fleet

New York is getting electric school buses
A new electric school bus from an all-electric fleet is parked beside charging stations | Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

According to the World Resources Institute, New York is getting the first fleet of electric school buses. Factored into New York’s annual State Budget, the zero-emissions fleet will be in the books by 2027. “The budget will enact a nation-leading commitment for New York to achieve the first fully zero-emission statewide school bus fleet in the country.”

The state hopes to have all new bus purchases be electric and have zero emissions by 2027. By 2035, New York wants all buses in operation to be electric. The plan hopes to be able to use $500 million from the budget toward school bus electrification. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will help the school districts finalize a plan and provide support as needed.

The state of New York currently has 50,000 school buses that run on diesel fuel. These diesel school buses are “exposing children across the state to harmful pollutants with proven links to respiratory conditions and cognitive impacts,” WRI says.

What are the benefits of electric school buses?

The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $5 billion in funding for districts to adopt electric school buses.

“New York’s 2023 state budget marks the beginning of a new era for the iconic yellow school bus – one in which children are no longer forced to inhale toxic diesel exhaust and instead breathe clean air on electric buses.”

Justin Balik | Senior Manager, State Policy for Transportation Electrification at World Resources Institute:

The statement congratulates New York for being the first state in the nation to commit to a fully electric fleet. As such, it sets a benchmark for other states in the country to follow suit. It might take a bit longer to get all 50 states on board, but some have started smaller.

New York might be the first, but many states have been testing EV buses

Electric school buses make a lot of sense given the distances driven regularly. Most of the routes are not that long and do a lot of stopping, which would offer plenty of time for regenerative braking. This is the process of regaining kinetic emergency through braking that converts into electricity. Stopping to let children on and off the bus will offer plenty of time for this.

While New York is the first state to commit to an entirely electric bus fleet, many states have started on a smaller scale. Alaska has been testing out an EV bus to see how it performs in cold weather. California has integrated electric buses in some areas to see how it goes.

Keep an eye out for electric school buses in your state, you might see one sooner than you think.


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