IC Bus announced this week how it is supporting dealers in educating customers on funding opportunities for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program.
The federal rebate program has allotted $5 billion over the next five years to replace current school buses with alternative fuel or electric vehicle (EV) models. Through customer education and grant writing support, IC Bus has helped more than 230 school districts – many of which are in high-need or low-income areas – take their first step toward electrification.
“The Clean School Bus Program prioritizes electric school bus deployments to communities that will experience the most positive impact,” says Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus. “IC Bus is committed to ensuring customers have the necessary resources to obtain the funding needed in their transition to electric. This starts with supporting our dealer network with EV and grant education."
IC Bus began educating dealers in early 2022 on their critical role in supporting the EV transition. Dealers have aided customers in funding opportunities, charging infrastructure, route analysis and overall EV education, IC Bus says.
Cumberland, an IC Bus dealer based in Nashville, Tenn., worked with 19 customers to identify nearly 60 eligible buses for the EPA Clean School Bus Program rebate funding.
Ashley Scurlock, bus account manager at Cumberland, approached customers when grant applications opened. Over the course of the next few months, Scurlock met with school boards, transportation directors and district superintendents to educate them and answer all the questions they had surrounding electric buses.
Other customer education initiatives that Scurlock and the Cumberland team conducted included meeting with area utility companies to understand charging infrastructure needs, hosting the NEXT Experience trailer for educational and demonstration sessions, holding IC Bus Electric CE Series school bus ride and drives, and inviting potential electric bus customers to see the delivery process.
“The key is to make the process simple for every stakeholder to understand, dispel the myths and reassure our customers that we will be there to help them through the unknowns,” says Scurlock. “The education portion of this process is vital in obtaining customer buy-in and making them comfortable with the change.”
Now that the initial round of funding has been announced, IC Bus says it will continue supporting customers through their entire electrification journey. Additionally, IC Bus is poised to support future rounds of grant funding.