Electrifying School Buses in the Bronx (ESBB)
In 2021, NYC committed to 100% electric school buses (ESBs) by 2035 in partnership with NYCSBUS, a non-profit. Emissions from diesel school buses are harmful to children and disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities like Zerega, in the Bronx. While ESBs are commercially available, significant deployment barriers remain: driver and mechanic knowledge gaps, charging infrastructure planning, and scaling. Project Electrifying School Buses in the Bronx (ESBB) addresses these challenges. NYCSBUS, WRI, NYLCV, Mobility House, and CALSTART propose: 1) an innovation cluster to train existing talent on ESBs, 2) charging infrastructure planning with vehicle-to-grid preparation, and 3) a mobility hub demonstrating heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) electric mobility can support other sustainable transportation choices benefiting the community. Project ESBB will deploy 30 ESBs at the Bronx Zerega depot in two phases. The project strategy will be replicated to electrify the entire 960 bus fleet by 2035. We leverage $16 million as direct funds from NYC and NYCSBUS.
The Electric School Buses inthe Bronx (ESBB) project takes a holistic three-pronged approach.
First, our ESB Innovation Cluster engages drivers and mechanics through specialized EV training. Knowledge building is key to scaling adoption of MHDEVs. The facility, with technical college partnerships, will be a hands-on training center teaching how to operate and maintain ESBs and electrical infrastructure. Zerega will convene regionwide industry stakeholders and school district procurement officers throughout the Northeast for technology transfer.
Second, we will customize managed charging plans and networked chargers to control costs from demand and time-of-use charges. Our VGI compatibility testing will serve as future revenue streams that improve grid resiliency and offset upfront capital costs. The Zerega facility will serve as a testbed for infrastructure configurations, including vehicle-to-grid (V2G) operations and space-saving innovations like pole-mounted chargers, which will also feed into the Innovation Cluster's curriculum.
Third, an electric mobility hub will address existing space constraints and localized emissions while providing EV chargers, bikes, and scooters for employees and local residents alike, showing how HDV electrification can support broader transportation challenges and the communities where it's implemented.
After three years, the ESBB project will produce a best-practices guide for school districts, standardized training materials, networked charging plans, V2G integration guides, and mobility hub how-to's. A total of 30 diesel and gasoline buses would be replaced with ESBs during the project. Another 45 ESBs will be deployed at a second facility post-project, and the project team will develop plans to electrify the remaining 885 school by 2035.