Fleets of internal combustion engine vehicles all over the United States are being replaced with electric vehicles (EVs), among many of which are school buses. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened the second round of funding for its Clean School Bus Program Grants. Here’s what you need to know about the EPA Clean School Bus Program and how to choose the right charging stations for your school’s EV bus fleet.
Clean School Bus Program Overview
The main goal of the EPA Clean School Bus Program is to replace eligible internal combustion engine (ICE) buses with electric buses and to install EV charging infrastructure for electric bus fleets. Applications for the second round of funding are due on August 22, 2023, with recipients announced between November 2023 to January 2024.
Who is eligible for an EPA Clean School Bus Grant?
Any of the following entities play a role in the leasing or purchase of school buses or providing school bus services:
- Local or State governmental entities
- Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and tribally controlled schools
- Public charter school districts
- Eligible contractors
In addition, the EPA says that “nonprofit transportation associations that are operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable or similar purposes in the public interest; are not organized primarily for profit; and use their net proceeds to maintain, improve and/or expand their operations” can also apply for funding.
The grant page notes that high-need local educational agencies, rural school districts, Bureau of Indian Affairs-funded school districts, and school districts that receive basic support payments for children who reside on Indian land will receive priority.
How do you apply for the EPA Clean School Bus Grant?
In order to apply for this grant program, you will need:
- Grants.gov account
- Unique Entity Identifier (previously known as the DUNS number)
- Current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
Note that all these accounts and registrations could take up to a month or more to process. If you do not have a SAM.gov account, you can create one at login.gov. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program Grants page also has resources to help you with your grant application.
Choosing Your EV Chargers
Have your school bus fleet been selected for a grant? Now it’s time to decide how to spend that money on EV charging infrastructure. As with any fleet of EVs, Blink Charging recommends that schools have a mixture of Level 2 chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFCs). All fleets are different, and will require a different mix, but by having both Level 2 chargers and DCFCs, you can reduce installation costs while having access to rapid charging when you need it.
Level 2 chargers like Blink’s MQ 200 can charge a battery in four to eight hours (depending on various factors), while a DCFC like Blink’s 30kW DCFC or Series 9 can generally charge vehicles in under an hour. Between these two types of chargers, you will be able to leave vehicles to charge overnight or when they’re not being used, while also having access to fast charging for when you need a vehicle to be charged quickly. The exact mixture of Level 2 and DCFCs will depend on your fleet size, usage patterns, budget, and the available power at your bus depot. You can use Blink’s Electric Vehicle Charging Time Calculator to figure out how long it will take to charge your new EV school bus fleet. Learn how Blink powers electric school buses at the Fontana Unified School District.
Blink Charging helps public and private schools across the country electrify their school buses. Our team of experts can join your fleet management and facilities management teams conduct a site assessment and choose the right charging stations for your needs. And with our cloud-based Blink Fleet Management, you can schedule charging, assign vehicles to fleet passes, and download charging and sustainability reports.
Ready to switch your school bus fleet (or any other type of fleet) from internal combustion to electric? Contact the Blink sales team today to get started.