Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Cost Factors: Module 4 (Text Version)

This is a text version of the video for Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Cost Factors: Module 4.

Welcome to Part 8 of the Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses series, where we will discuss electric school bus cost factors. Part 8 of the Flipping the Switch series, Electric School Bus Cost Factors, consists of five modules. Module 1 provided information on bus capital costs and infrastructure costs. Module 2 discussed electric school bus operational costs. Module 3 discussed electric school bus maintenance costs. Module 4, which we are reviewing today, will discuss electric school bus incentives and financing options. And finally, Module 5 will provide information on how to have financing discussions.

Now let's get started with Module 4 of the Electric School Bus Cost Factors, Incentives and Financing discussions. The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center provides a wealth of information and data on alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, fuel saving strategies, and emerging transportation technologies. This site features interactive tools, calculators, and mapping applications to aid in the implementation of these fuels, vehicles, and strategies.

Today we're going to focus on the AFDC's Laws and Incentives Database as a resource for identifying what electrification incentives your fleet may be eligible for. This slide shows the URL, as well as how to navigate to the Laws and Incentives Database from the main AFDC page.

Today we'd like to discuss the Laws and Incentives Database in a little bit more detail and describe how to use it efficiently. This image shows what the main Laws and Incentives page looks like, and the URL is shown again here for your reference in case you'd like to follow along on your own in a separate browser. So on the main page you have the option to search for laws and incentives by state, by category, or by keyword. And note that the Laws and Incentives Database includes information not only for your state, but also by federal laws and incentives. You can view all laws and incentives by selecting the "See All" button, which shows the laws and incentives in a nice summary table broken down by technology and fuel type, incentive type, regulation type, and of course user type.

The image on this slide is the search page of the Laws and Incentives Database, and again the URL is here in case you'd like to follow along in a separate browser. So here we've done a sample search for electric school bus incentives. In the keyword search we've typed in "School Bus," and we also completed some of the category search options to further narrow down the results. So specifically we selected "All" for jurisdiction, so of course if you were completing a search for yourself you would select what state, as well as what federal incentives you might be interested in. And then for technology fuel we selected EVs and then hit "Search."

As of March 2022, there are a total of 47 electric school bus laws and incentives in the United States, and specifically there are 23 state incentives, which includes grants, three federal incentives, 10 utility and private incentives, and 11 laws and regulations related to electric school buses. And also note that Volkswagen Settlement funding is a source of possible funding, which is also tracked in the Laws and Incentives Database. So if there is VW money available in your state it will appear as an option in the laws and incentives search results.

In the next few slides, we're providing a couple of example incentives that are currently available for electric school buses. Please note however that we are providing high-level information on these incentives only. If you have specific questions about a particular incentive, you can reach out to the Technical Response Service, which we'll talk more about later, or you can navigate to the links and resources provided in the descriptions as appropriate.

So the incentive on this slide is an example of a federal incentive for electric school buses. The Environmental Protection Agency's, or EPA's, Clean School Bus Program. And note that this grant is not yet open but will provide funding for the replacement of existing school buses with electric and may award up to 100% of the cost of an electric school bus.

This slide shows an example incentive of what's currently available in New York. So specifically NYSERDA is offering 100% of the incremental cost of an electric school bus, or up to $200,000 per vehicle.

So this slide shows an example of an incentive in New Jersey, and specifically the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection offers incentives to cover 100% of the incremental cost to replace diesel school buses with electric.

So if you're having trouble completing a search in your area, or just want someone to talk to about your options and how best to move forward with your electric school bus project you have a few resources available to you that can help. First, remember that your local Clean Cities coalition is available and is a great resource. Coordinators can assist with questions on grants and incentives and may be aware of other local financing options as well. Coordinators are also a great resource for you generally as you move forward with your electrification project. You can find your local coalition contact information at the link on this slide.

And second, the Technical Response Service, or TRS, is another great resource that you have available to you. The TRS is available as a resource for all electric school bus or other alternative transportation related questions, and they can also help you complete a laws and incentives search if you're having trouble. They can also help provide information related to any questions that you might have on alternative fuels. You can e-mail them at the address on this page.

So throughout the Flipping the Switch series we provided the information, tools, and steps a fleet might need to take to complete an electric school bus project from start to finish. That said, there is a lot to consider, and some fleets may not be ready to undertake an electric school bus project on their own, either because of financial reasons or otherwise. So in these cases keep in mind that there are some full service solutions available to fleets, and specifically there are some companies out there that can offer turnkey solutions to school districts looking to implement electric school buses.

So these companies can work with a fleet to determine the best plan for you and your specific district. Typically an annual contract price covers all of the costs that you might be looking at, including the vehicles, charging infrastructure, maintenance, and unexpected costs. The company does all the work and owns all the assets. And companies like this, you can also kind of think of them like a contractor.

So in addition to turnkey solutions some utilities are beginning to offer customers new and innovative service options to meet the energy needs of electric vehicles. These different programs can help support the installation of EV charging infrastructure through infrastructure development or financial support. So for example they may be able to offer standard service, EV charging make-ready, EV charging rebates, and utility full service. So to determine if there are any utility offerings in your area we'd recommend reaching out to your utility directly to ask, and you can also find any relevant utility related incentives in the Laws and Incentives Database, which you reviewed earlier in this module.

Now for a quick summary of what I've discussed. So first remember that there may be incentives available for your school bus electrification project. Check out the AFDC Laws and Incentives Database to determine if there are any applicable to you and your fleet. And second, remember that seasoned experts are available to help. Contact your local Clean Cities coordinator for assistance, or e-mail the Technical Response Service with questions. Next, know that there are full-service solutions available as an option if you're not quite ready to take on an electric school bus project of your own. And lastly, know that the utility service options may be available.

Thank you for listening. That concludes Module 4 of Part 8 of the Flipping the Switch Series, Electric School Bus Cost Factors. To complete the modules in Part 8 of the series continue on to listen to Module 5.

Now as a reminder you can find all of the content for the Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses series, including each part of the series and associated modules, as well as handouts with the summary of information and links to all of the resources mentioned today on the Alternative Fuels Data Center's Electric School Bus page.