The push for electric transportation in America is currently experiencing unprecedented momentum, with billions of dollars in EV project funding available to drive this transition. While a significant portion of this funding is dedicated to passenger vehicle charging infrastructure, it is important to recognize the crucial role that other types of vehicles, like school buses, will play in achieving a zero-emission transportation landscape.
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), contribute to almost 40% of America's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The good news is that funding opportunities exist for these projects, even if they haven't received as much attention.
Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released their 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Grant Program with the goal of replacing existing internal combustion engine (ICE) school buses with electric or other low-emission school buses, along with the required infrastructure to operate them.
EPA expects to award roughly $400 million in CSB funding across 25-50 approved locations. And since this program is grant funding and not a rebate, approved school districts will likely be able to complete their entire electrification project without any out-of-pocket expenses.
Interested to see if your school district qualifies? See our breakdown of the EPA’s criteria below:
Who qualifies for the EPA grant
Any school district can apply for and receive CSB funding through the EPA, however they do have some prioritization criteria to help ensure that areas in greater need of assistance (i.e., “disadvantaged communities”) receive this funding first. The EPA defines these areas as meeting one or more of the following criteria:
High-need school districts and low-income areas – these are school districts listed in the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) as having 20% or more of their students living in poverty. Likewise, Title-1 funded school districts, charter school districts, and large public-school districts* not listed in the SAIPE dataset can also qualify.
Rural school districts – school districts identified with locale code “43-Rural: Remote” by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Bureau of Indian Affairs-funded school districts.
School districts that receive basic support payments under section 7704(b)(1) of the title 20 for children who reside on Indian land.
While it is not mandatory for approved locations to fulfill the aforementioned criteria, it is worth noting that meeting these criteria increases the likelihood of receiving funding and also results in a higher amount granted. *Districts with more than 35K students and/or 45 public schools that are in SAIPE but do not meet the 20% poverty threshold
How the EPA grant funding breaks down
As we mentioned before, any school district in America can apply for and potentially receive funding for low- or no-emission school bus projects through this EPA grant. However, the breakdown of how much money a location can receive through this program is based largely around the prioritization criteria listed above as well as the type of vehicle(s) they intend to acquire. Here is a table of how the funding breaks down per vehicle acquired through the program:
How to apply for this grant
The EPA requires all applicant to set up a SAM.gov (System for Award Management) account. If you haven’t already registered your organization with SAM.gov, you will need to visit login.gov to create your account.
With your SAM.gov account setup, visit Grants.gov and create an account for your organization here. Once created, search for grant EPA-OAR-OTAQ-23-06 and click the red “apply” button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
What you should look for in an EV charging solution
When piloting an electric school bus program, flexible and reliable EV charging is critical to ensuring your new electric buses are operating at peak efficiency. That is why we suggest starting with portable DC fast charging equipment like our Mobile 50 kW.
With a charging solution like the Mobile 50 kW, you can enjoy the reliability of industry leading Heliox DC fast chargers without the need for installation. This not only helps you save on upfront costs, but it also offers greater flexibility when designing the EV section of your depot. Without any worries about hardwiring, you can easily reposition the EV charging area in your bus yard as needed.
The Heliox Mobile 50 kW is also designed to function even in areas with power supply limitations. With just a simple turn of a dial, you can raise or lower your input, ensuring that you can charge your e-buses wherever you need to.
Furthermore, our equipment is compliant with the Buy America Act, so you can have confidence that it meets all the necessary criteria to secure your grant or rebate funding.
Ready to get started?
Take the next step towards electrifying your school bus fleet - all it takes is scheduling a chat with our expert! Just click on the link below and find a convenient time on the calendar that suits you.