EPA Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program Resources

EPA has launched a NEW program that provides nearly $700 million for electric school buses!
Established by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the EPA Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program (CHDVP) provides nearly $1 billion to replace Class 6 & 7 vehicles with zero-emission vehicles, including 70% of funding for electric school buses. Priority is given to projects in disadvantaged communities and areas with poor quality.

Applications are open now through July 25, 2024. Read below for resources, and visit the EPA’s program page for official guidelines.

Get Funding

EPA’s Clean School Bus Program also offers funding for electric school buses, but applications are not currently open. A rebate round is expected to open this summer or fall. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Electric school bus pricing depends on many factors, including manufacturer and class, ranging between $225,000 to $375,000 — about three to four times the cost of a diesel school bus.

While electric school buses may have a high upfront cost, after purchase they cost less to maintain and less to operate than diesel buses. Electric school buses don’t need gas, air filters or oil changes; they have significantly fewer parts (2,000 for diesel versus 20 parts for electric buses) and run more efficiently. Their tires and brakes receive less wear and can lengthen the time between replacements. By switching to electric school buses, school districts could save thousands of dollars in the long-term, especially if they use managed charging. Studies estimate cost savings for school districts of at least $2,000 to $4,400 annually, including reducing fueling costs by at least 40%. That adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a bus — about $3 billion in fuel savings for all school districts. These fuel savings can vary depending on the school districts’ electricity needs and utility rates, but even then, electricity pricing has been more stable than diesel fuel prices.

As electric vehicle technology improves, their cost will continue to go down. Battery prices, for example, have already dropped 89% since 2010. Electric school buses are predicted to reach cost parity with diesel buses as soon as 2025 or potentially the next five or six years to decade.

The sticker price is only one factor of an electric school bus. There are health and environmental costs to putting our children on fossil fuel buses. Electric school buses protect children’s health and academic experience, and reduce pollution from our communities.

About 100-120 miles. School districts report comfortably reaching 100 miles on a single charge, which can cover the majority of bus routes, on most electric school buses — even more if charged midday. Battery technology is rapidly improving. The first electric school buses deployed in 2014 had a range of 60 miles on a single charge. Today, manufacturers are offering ranges from 75 for a Type A to 210 miles for a Type C. For more details, see WRI’s Market Study and Buyer’s Guide, which includes specifications for each electric school bus model available today.

Field trips within the 100-mile range or with charging opportunities en route are definitely possible. 

Yes. Electric school buses are purpose-built to protect students, and their batteries are subject to high safety standards and multiple safety mechanisms to prevent failures or “thermal events.” While fires are extremely rare with any type of school bus, they’re even less likely for electric vehicles. First-responders and transportation staff must be trained to understand how to properly maintain batteries and respond to emergencies. 

Propane school buses rely on fuel with volatile pricing. Propane prices, like gas and diesel prices, are at the mercy of global oil markets and are vulnerable to price spikes. In times of international conflict or other supply chain strains, propane prices are particularly volatile. Electric school buses, meanwhile, rely on electricity prices that have remained stable over the last few decades.

Moreover, propane school buses, like electric school buses, require fueling infrastructure updates. School districts would have to contract out for fuel deliveries and install new pumps and tanks. They would need to work closely with vendors and fuel companies, sign another fueling contract, and train drivers and mechanics on how to fuel and maintain a propane school bus. The EPA Clean School Bus Program does not provide funding for propane infrastructure.

While propane school buses have a lower sticker price than electric school buses, that upfront cost does not account for the cost of pollution on human health and the economy. Electric school buses provide greater savings and protection for students, drivers and communities. 

You are about to leave the website. Do you want to continue?