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State Incentive Programs Focus Solely on All-Electric School Buses

Smaller California school districts that apply for the state’s $130 million Hybrid Vehicle Incentive Program (HVIP) funds to obtain electric buses have 18 models from 10 manufacturers to choose from when applications open this week. Meanwhile, a similar program in New York will no longer fund CNG and propane school buses.

The HVIP “Public School Bus Set-Aside for Small and Medium Air Districts” will provide up to $350,000 in point-of-sale discounts for each new zero-emissions school bus—depending on the size and features—that is to be operated by K-12 public school districts or public charter schools. The California Department of Education’s Division of State Special Schools, joint power authorities, and county offices of education also qualify.

The new electric buses must replace model-year 2007 or older bus chassis with gross vehicle weight ratings of greater than 14,000 pounds that are powered by an internal combustion engine of any fuel type. The applicant must also own the bus and it must be certified by the California Highway Patrol.

The application process opens on March 30. Applications from entities that serve disadvantaged communities will receive priority for the first 90 days of funding.

To date, HVIP has funded over 700 new electric school bus purchases statewide. All told, over $600 million in HVIP funds have helped deploy 9,000-plus commercial vehicles that have resulted in over 222 million “cleaner-than-diesel miles traveled” since 2010. HVIP funds have also been met with over $2.8 billion in additional public and private spending to assist agencies in obtaining cleaner vehicles.

Meanwhile, the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP) transitions this week to funding 100-percent, zero-emissions school bus purchases. Beginning April 1, applications will only be accepted for plug-in electric school buses. That gives state school districts, bus contractors and eligible private schools only days to submit final applications for new propane or CNG school buses, said a representative of CALSTART, which helps administer both California and New York programs.


Related: Contractors Face Potential Limitations Over Access to Clean School Bus Funds
Related: Repowering Diesel School Buses to Electric an Option for Cash-Strapped Districts
Related: Transportation Directors Weigh Pros and Cons of Alt-Fuel, Electric School Buses


The NYTVIP provides between $100,000 and $220,000 for the incremental cost of a new all-electric Class 4-Class 8 school bus, or those with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging between 14,001 and greater than 33,001 pounds, to replace a diesel school bus that is at least six model years old. New electric school buses procured with the money must be operated at least 8,000 miles annually on average during a five-year, in-service period. So far, the program has funneled $5.5 million in Volkswagen Settlement money toward electric school bus purchases.

All told, NYTVIP has funded $58.3 million in purchases, nearly 70 percent of that money coming from the VW Settlement and the rest from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

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