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October 7, 2019
Public Funding for Electric School Buses More Than Doubles in September
Source: EV Hub
School is back in session and after lingering at less than 300 vehicles through the first half of 2019, electric school bus deployment is heating up. National electric school bus deployment could more than triple following a major announcement in August from the electric utility Dominion Energy, which plans to deploy 1,000 electric school buses by 2025 and fully electrify school buses in its Virginia territory by 2030.

A rise in public funding for electric school buses is positioned to accelerate market growth. In September alone, VW Settlement funds allocated to electric school buses increased from just $4 million to more than $37 million following announcements from Virginia and Michigan. These states will be among the first to realize the benefits of electric school buses, which can bring school districts significant savings due to lower operating and fuel costs while providing environmental benefits that accrue directly to children. The air quality inside an electric bus is reported to be six times healthier than inside a diesel bus.

Electric school buses also benefit the electric grid. Because these vehicles are idle for long and predictable periods of time, they are uniquely well-suited to enable bi-directional energy exchange, known as “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) functions. Within V2G functions, school bus batteries not only consume electricity by charging, but also discharge stored electricity to the grid when it is valuable for them to do so, for example, during periods of high electricity demand. V2G functions have the potential to bring significant value to electric utilities by increasing electric grid reliability and efficiency. At least eight utility V2G-related programs have been filed since 2018 valued at more than $70 million. Under one such program by New York utility Consolidated Edison, electric school buses have already begun transporting students and the bus batteries will begin performing V2G in November when students are on Thanksgiving break.

Electric utilities also play a vital role in deploying more electric school buses through vehicle and charging infrastructure investments. Through September 2019, electric utilities in nine states have filed at least 16 programs that include school bus electrification. Six of these programs have been approved at a value worth more than $62 million.

Utility investment is only one side of the equation and public entities can step up their support for this technology. While states like California are moving to capitalize on the benefits of electric school buses, overall investment in electric school buses remains relatively low. Only a third of school bus awards that have been allocated through the VW settlement so far are going towards electric buses. Since electric school buses cost roughly three times more than diesel models, continued public funding is required to strengthen the electric school bus market.

The recent uptick in electric school bus investment announcements is an encouraging sign that states and utilities are recognizing this technology’s unique potential to benefit children and the electrical grid.  We’ll continue to track both utility and public investment in electric school buses. Keep an eye out for an upcoming report outlining public and utility investment in electric buses and trucks.
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EV Hub News

Michigan Awards $13 million in VW Settlement Money for Electric School Buses

On September 12, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced an award of roughly $13 million to go towards the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation Electric School Bus Pilot Project. The first buses are expected to be in operation by Fall 2019 and will be deployed in areas that suffer disproportionate air pollution burdens. The buses will also be equipped with technology to enable bi-directional vehicle-to-grid power exchange. 

This pilot program represents the first school bus award made by the state through the VW Settlement funds. Michigan is only the fifth state to use settlement funds to invest in electric school buses. This award more than triples the $4 million of VW Settlement funds invested in this technology to date. Read More Here

California Energy Commission Approves $95 Million for EV Charging and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure

On September 11, 2019, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced the approval of $95 million in new investments to go towards clean transportation programs throughout the state. The investments will contribute to CEC’s Clean Transportation Program that seeks to accelerate progress towards the state’s climate and clean transportation goals.

The $62.7 million being invested in EV charging infrastructure increases the state’s total public funding for EV charging to almost $200 million according to the Public Funding Awards dashboardRead More Here

Washington State Launches $2.25 Million Charging Infrastructure Program for Government Agencies

On September 4, 2019, the Washington State Department of Ecology announced a new round of VW Settlement funding targeting state and local government facilities. The program seeks to accelerate EV adoption in both public and private vehicle fleets throughout the state by expanding access to public charging sited at government facilities

Overall, 15 percent of the state’s total funds, roughly $16 million, is available to expand the charging network. Read More Here

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Upcoming Events

This webinar will highlight programs and projects aimed at tackling the barriers to smart transportation adoption by underserved communities. Forth’s Program Manager, Sergio Lopez and will join Vivian Satterfield, Director Of Strategic Partnerships at Verde will discuss how to address the smart transportation needs of underserved communities. Read More Here

October 8th @ 10am PDT

At Forth's October networking event, speakers will discuss strategies to educate consumers and dealers about EVs. They will also cover different strategies to get cars to the consumers and to engage dealers in making the electric car jump. The guest speaker Hieu Le, Campaign Representative at Sierra Club, will discuss results from the current Rev Up EV campaign – a nationwide study on the consumer experience of electric vehicle shopping. Read More Here

October 16th @ 4pm PDT

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