The demand for electric school buses is growing. Now that environmental, public health, and community groups are advocating for cleaner school bus fleet and more electric school buses are entering the market, a few communities in New York State are working on electric school bus pilot programs. As part of our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, we’re tracking these ongoing and upcoming pilot programs across New York State.
An exciting electric school bus pilot program was introduced by Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), an electric utility on Long Island, starting the summer of 2020. This program is designed to help Long Island utilities understand how large electric vehicle batteries can be utilized during the summer to offset peak energy demand and its strain on the grid. During the school year, they will be used to transport students to school through the school bus provider, Suffolk Transportation Services. PSEG plans to start with three buses but could introduce more depending on the success of the pilot.
In White Plains a clean bus pilot program has been in place since the fall of 2018, which includes five electric school buses for the White Plains School District. The pilot program was sparked by local utility company Con Ed’s interest in using the buses as energy storage assets during the summer peak energy season.
The feedback has been very positive from the school district, the bus drivers, and the students who ride these buses every day. As part of the next phase of the program this school year, the electric buses were fitted with vehicle-to-grid technology so that they can provide backup storage for the grid when they’re parked during the school year.
New York City
In NYC, the Department of Education (DOE) has authorized an electric school bus pilot program that will introduce electric school buses to the streets of NYC. This program was set to begin by the start of this school year, but unfortunately, the DOE has delayed the roll out until later in the year. To show our support for this pilot program and to urge the DOE to move things along, we held a press conference earlier this month with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who spearheaded the pilot program. We will continue to work with the DOE on their pilot program and see it through implementation and beyond.
These pilot programs are very promising for the future of electric school buses across NYS. Each pilot program is being met with enthusiasm from a variety of stakeholders. The pilot programs have the potential to shape the future of New York’s transportation system and lead the movement towards a cleaner and healthier future for our children. We look forward to continuing to work with these and other school districts across the state on promoting the benefits of electrifying our school bus fleets.