Even more electric school buses will soon be on the road than previously thought, according to recent data from the World Resources Institute.
WRI has been tracking electric school bus adoption across all states since last August. In a chart displayed in a recent WRI blog, 80 electric school buses were committed as of the second quarter of 2017. The number has slowly risen since then, hitting 204 committed ESBs in quarter two of 2019. In the second quarter of 2020, committed ESBs hit 677, jumping to over 1,200 a year later.
As of last month, school districts and fleet operators have committed to implementing 12,275 ESBs across 38 states. That’s six times more since the release of WRI’s January dataset and almost a 10-fold increase since the organization began tracking electric school bus adoption last summer.
WRI considers a school bus committed when a school district, bus dealer or fleet operator has either been awarded funding to purchase the vehicle or has made a formal agreement for a purchase with a manufacturer. Committed also includes buses that have been delivered and are in use.
A vast majority of these electric vehicles—10,000—are tied to a contract announced at the end of December between bus dealer Midwest Transit Equipment and SEA Electric, a manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles converted from diesel, over the next five years.
“This significant rise in electric school bus commitments is a testament to tireless advocacy work at the local, state and federal levels, bolstered by more funding opportunities across the country,” Lydia Freehafer and Leah Lazer wrote in a WRI blog.
The organization also identified 60 new districts that have committed to electric school buses, bringing the total to 415 school districts, a 60 percent increase from its first count in August of last year.
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WRI’s research indicates that it takes about 16 months between awarding funds and delivering the electric school buses. However, the blog noted that delivery delays have been exacerbated by the current supply chain disruptions.
California continues to lead the nation, with over 1,000 electric school buses committed throughout the state. It is three-times as many as Maryland, which has the second-highest number of committed ESBs.
The two newest states to add electric school buses include Mississippi and Montana. Though, WRI adds that the SEA Electric and Midwest Transit agreement has yet to disclose the locations of where those ESBs will be deployed.