The project, led by NYCSBUS and partner organizations, receives $8 million in prize money to enable first case study for large-scale school bus electrification in New York
NYC School Bus Umbrella Services (NYCSBUS) and their project partners the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF), World Resources Institute (WRI), The Mobility House, Bronx Community College, and CALSTART have been awarded the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Clean Transportation Prize through the Electric Truck and Bus Challenge.
The winning project, “Electrifying School Buses in the Bronx and Beyond (ESB3),” which received $8 million in prize money, provides a framework to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission school buses in New York City and throughout the State.
The purpose of the New York Clean Transportation Prizes is to help electrify transportation, reduce air pollution, and enhance clean mobility in disadvantaged communities in New York State.
The choice of using NYCSBUS’s Zerega Depot in the Bronx for the first phase of the project is intentional, as the surrounding community ranks in the 98th percentile nationally for air pollution caused by diesel engines. Air pollution causes respiratory illnesses such as asthma, which is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. And since those riding inside the bus often bear the worst of it, it’s crucial that children are driven to school not on fossil-fuel burning vehicles, but instead on clean energy rides that mitigate this public health hazard.
The state and city have mandated the electrification of all school buses by 2035, and a recently announced infusion of over $69 million in federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide New York with 184 Electric Buses, with 51 of them going to New York City school districts. However, acquiring the vehicles is not the only barrier to a clean energy bus fleet. Bus companies and school districts need to navigate unfamiliar territory, and overburdened school districts often lack the resources and expertise to manage electric school bus adoption on a large scale.
NYSERDA support will enable NYCSBUS to serve as a first laboratory and case study for large scale school bus electrification in New York, documenting not just the proper selection of buses but the even more complicated deployment of charging infrastructure, development of training and operational protocols, and community engagement so that the project is successful. The project also includes two additional New York State school districts as case studies as well as the creation of a Center of Excellence at the Zerega Depot.
These elements will provide the foundation for a full fleet electrification plan for NYCSBUS’s 850 buses and a roadmap for bus companies and school districts throughout the state.
Said Matt Berlin, Chief Executive Officer at NYC School Bus Umbrella Services, Inc.:
“NYCSBUS is excited to leverage this funding from NYSERDA to demonstrate school bus electrification at scale in New York City while also providing guidance and resources for other districts around the state to ride along with us. This investment will provide significant health benefits to our community – employees, students, parents and neighbors – which has experienced outsized impacts of diesel pollution for many years.”
Said Gregor Hintler, U.S. Managing Director at The Mobility House:
“The Mobility House is honored to support our New York City partners on the journey to zero-emission school buses for the community’s children. Through intelligent energy management, we are setting the standard for reliable, scalable electric school transportation in the region.”
Said Sue Gander, Director of World Resource Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative:
“Electrification is transforming the way students get to school for the better. Traditional fossil fuel powered school buses expose our kids, drivers and communities to an array of harmful emissions. It’s time to transition to electric school buses and prioritize historically underserved communities who have suffered the worst effects of air pollution over generations. We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with a stellar group of partners to put an equity-first approach to electrification into action.”
Said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund:
“NYLCVEF has long advocated for electrifying New York’s school buses with a strong focus on prioritizing communities—like those surrounding the Zerega Depot in the Bronx—that have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution and attendant respiratory illnesses like asthma, which is a leading cause of school absenteeism. We are grateful to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for awarding ESB3 the Clean Transportation Prize and we are thrilled to be partnering with such a terrific group of organizations on this project. Together, we are bringing innovation, community voices, and operational expertise to the fore so we can begin the hard work of blazing the trail so all school districts have a clear path to reaching a 100% clean energy bus fleet.”
Said Clement Drummond, Director of Automotive Technology at Bronx Community College:
“We are pleased to be part of the electrification of the NYC school bus program. Our courses are designed to advance the knowledge of fleet maintenance personnel into the future. This is a game changer to have zero emissions and advanced driver safety systems that are designed to save lives.”
Said Rachel Chard, National Program Manager, Electric School Buses at CALSTART:
“CALSTART is honored to help advance the electrification of school bus fleets throughout New York state. NYSERDA’s investment in clean transportation and emphasis on prioritizing historically underserved communities should serve as a model for states across the nation. This award is a significant step towards the reduction of harmful emissions in local communities and will ease the transition for all by providing school districts with the data and resources necessary to make their own educated and informed decisions. We look forward to working with NYCSBUS and our partners to demonstrate electric school bus deployments in the Bronx and beyond and help New York state meet their adoption goals.”
About NYC School Bus Umbrella Services (NYCSBUS)
NYCSBUS is a non-profit school bus company based in New York City. The company operates approximately 800 school bus routes throughout the five boroughs and the suburbs of the city. Its goals are to provide outstanding service to families and schools, to provide transparency to school districts and to radically improve student transportation. Visit www.nycsbus.com for more information.
About the New York League of Conservation Voters
The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF) educates, engages and empowers New Yorkers to be effective advocates on behalf of the environment — from clean energy and funding for parks, to solid waste and green buildings. NYLCVEF educates New Yorkers about environmental issues and the environmental decision-making processes at the local, regional, state and federal government levels; engages all sectors – elected officials, policymakers, businesses, community groups and grassroots citizens – in open, non-partisan discussion about sustainability policies in order to achieve the environmental breakthroughs that New York needs; and empowers New Yorkers to make environmental change by engaging them in the civic process.
About World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, WRI established the Electric School Bus Initiative in late 2020 with the goal of building unstoppable momentum toward electrifying the full U.S. school bus fleet by 2030. This project builds upon and leverages WRI’s experience partnering with cities around the world to advance sustainable transportation systems, including extensive engagements focused on transit electrification and working to advance clean power options.
About Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College of The City University of New York offers more than 40 academic programs that prepare students for careers and further education at four-year colleges. An array of transfer agreements and partnerships with other schools make BCC a pathway to success. Located on a 45-acre tree-lined campus, the College provides students with high-quality classes, outstanding faculty and course schedules that fit into their lives. BCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), with students from some 100 countries. BCC is the first community college to be named a National Historic Landmark for its classic Stanford White-designed structures, including the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. BCC is a major cultural institution in the borough and an engine for economic mobility throughout the Bronx. For more information about Bronx Community College, visit. www.bcc.cuny.edu
A national nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., central Europe and partners world-wide, CALSTART works with 300+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry. We knock down barriers to modernization and the adoption of clean vehicles. CALSTART is changing transportation for good.
About The Mobility House
The Mobility House’s mission is to create an emissions-free energy and mobility future. Since 2009, the company has developed an expansive partner ecosystem to intelligently integrate electric vehicles into the power grid, including electric vehicle charger manufacturers, 1,000+ installation partners, 80+ energy suppliers, and automotive manufacturers ranging from Audi to Tesla. The intelligent Charging and Energy Management system ChargePilot and underlying EV Aggregation Platform enable customers and partners to integrate electric vehicles into the grid for optimized and future proof operations. The Mobility House’s unique vendor-neutral and interoperable technology approach to smart charging and energy management has been successful at over 800 commercial installations around the world. The Mobility House has more than 250 employees across its operations in Munich, Zurich and Belmont, Calif. For more information visit mobilityhouse.com.