Electrifying the School Bus Fleet

A grant from Amazon’s Bezos will spur the electrification of more than 450,000 U.S. school buses by 2030.

February 15, 2021

By Donovan Woods

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Jeff Bezos announced plans to depart his role as CEO of Amazon and transition to executive chair of Amazon’s Board some time in the third quarter of 2021. In his new role, Bezos plans to spend more time on other initiatives, including his $10 billion Earth Fund.

The Bezos Earth Fund aims to accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy and equitable access to healthy air, water and land. In late 2020, World Resources Institute (WRI) was selected to receive a five-year $100 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund for two initiatives that support global climate action—one of those initiatives will spur the electrification of U.S. school buses.

In a recent episode of Carpool Chats, “Electrifying Mass Transportation,” John Eichberger, executive director of the Fuels Institute, discussed the details of the initiative and the opportunities for vehicle-to-grid infrastructure with Erika Myers, global senior manager, electric vehicles at WRI.

Myers highlighted that school buses are the most utilized form of transportation (by volume) in the United States. By electrifying these buses, the goal is to not only to provide a cleaner form of transportation for children but also utilize the remaining power in each bus’s battery to potentially power portions of the school where they park.

Eichberger acknowledges that with nearly half a million school buses in use nationwide, this type of initiative will help drive conversations in all pockets of the country on the policies and regulations needed to build the necessary infrastructure.

Hear more of the conversation and how WRI plans to deliver on such a large project in the latest episode of the Fuels Institute’s Carpool Chats.

A new episode of Carpool Chats is available every two weeks. “Electrifying Mass Transportation” can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and viewed on the Fuels Institute’s YouTube channel.

Donovan Woods is the director of marketing and communications at the Fuels Institute. He can be reached at dwoods@fuelsinstitute.org.