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Accelerating Electric School Bus Adoption in Canada

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In Canada, about 70% of the 50,000 school buses run on diesel, while there are only around 900 electric school buses, comprising less than 2% of the fleet.

Read to know more about :

  • The benefits of electric school buses

  • Understand the main obstacles to the adoption of electric school buses in Canada

  • Consult the key recommendations for accelerating the electrification of electric school buses in Canada.

Why Canada Should Embrace Electric School Buses

Shifting entirely to electric school buses, starting with aged buses which need to be replaced, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 1.17 million tonnes annually and save over 601 million dollars in healthcare costs over 12 years, theaverage lifespan of a school bus. In other words, each year, a fleet entirely composed of electric models would eliminate as many greenhouse gases as 260,360 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven over the same period.

Electrifying school buses mitigates health risks such as acute respiratory symptoms and asthma exacerbations by reducing diesel-related air pollutants.This electrification also reduces noise exposure and enhances students' mental health by addressing climate change.

🚌 Did you know?

Electric school buses are highly cost-effective as they require 80% less energy and 50% less maintenance due to their design.

In addition to the economic opportunities in manufacturing, electric school bus operators can generate up to $8,000 in annual potential revenues per bus through the Clean Fuel Regulation Credits and vehicle-to-grid participation.

Hurdles to Electric School Buses Adoption

The electrification of school bus fleets is not without challenges and barriers. Complex application processes and program structures impede the adoption of electric school buses by fleet operators due to delays and limited access to financial support. Additionally, the electrification of school bus fleets faces significant financial hurdles, with Type C electric school buses costing $250,000 more than their diesel counterparts. Additionally, charging infrastructure is often inadequate, leading to connectivity issues and delays in connecting to electric grids. Furthermore, charging infrastructure is inadequate, resulting in connectivity issues and delays in connecting to electrical grids.

Logistical hurdles like range limitations, also affect the economic viability of electric fleets, especially for lengthy routes and extracurricular activities. Moreover, the shortage of electric school bus maintenance training and limited fleet manager knowledge causes extended bus downtime and operational inefficiencies.

While some regions have taken steps towards electrification targets and funding, the Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance (CESBA) urges the acceleration of school bus fleet electrification that would prioritize aged buses which need to be replaced, offering key recommendations.


1. Enact policy standards to integrate electrification within current frameworks;

2. Increase provincial subsidies to cover the full capital costs of electric school bus fleets;

3. Extend federal funding programs for electric school buses;

4. Review and streamline funding program structures;

5. Increase accessibility to charging infrastructure and improve network connectivity;

6. Explore the economic and energy potential of electric school buses in vehicle-to-grid technology;

7. Review the retirement standards of internal combustion engine buses;

8. Revise existing contracts with fleet operators;

9. Invest in training programs for electric school bus operation, and maintenance;

10. Increase awareness of electric school bus benefits and existing funding programs;

11. Systematize data collection and information sharing.

  • pdf  - 1.97 mb Accelerating Electric School Bus Adoption in Canada

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Project manager, Sustainable Mobility
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