The EV space is dynamic, with new funding opportunities announced every month to accelerate the electrification of public fleet vehicles and equipment. Here are opportunities applicable to Washington’s public fleet managers.
Building charging infrastructure to support the growing adoption of EVs is a priority for Washington. To prepare for these grant opportunities, potential applicants are encouraged to:
- Determine how on-site charging may benefit your organization and community.
- Consult with your electric utility regarding your site’s readiness and capacity for the proposed project. If you do not own the property, consider drafting a site-host agreement.
- Familiarize your organization with the state procurement process and permitting process.
Ecology Air Quality Zero Emission School Bus Grant Program 2023–2025
Approximately $14 million will be available to scrap diesel school buses and replace them with new zero-emission school buses, including charging or fueling infrastructure.
School buses being scrapped must be:
- Powered by diesel
- Owned by the applicant
- Licensed, registered, and insured for on-road operation in Washington for at least one year prior to November 15, 2023
School bus owners that transport students to K-12 schools identified by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Application period: Nov. 16, 2023 – Jan. 25, 2024
Grant Announcement and Guidelines
Ecology Air Quality Clean Diesel Grant Program 2023–2025: Fuel cell transit buses and zero emission yard trucks
Approximately $2.24 million will be available to help eligible applicants scrap and replace:
- Diesel transit buses with new fuel cell-powered buses
- Diesel yard trucks with new electric yard trucks
The vehicles being scrapped must:
- Be owned by the applicant
- Have operated in Washington for at least two years prior to December 6, 2023
- Have at least three years of remaining life after December 6, 2023
- Have accumulated at least 7,000 miles/year during the two years prior to December 6, 2023 for transit buses
- Have operated at least 500 hours/year during the two years prior to December 6, 2023, for yard trucks
Cities, counties, state agencies, Tribal governments, ports, clean air agencies, transit authorities, and non-for-profit entities.
Application period: Dec. 6, 2023 – Feb. 27, 2024
Grant Announcement and Guidelines
2023 EPA Clean School Bus Rebate Program
The 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program is now open. EPA anticipates awarding at least $500 million in rebate funding; this amount may be modified based on the application pool and other factors.
Applicants can apply for funding to purchase up to 25 zero-emission (ZE) and/or clean school buses, along with ZE charging infrastructure and eligible workforce development costs. Selectees may be eligible for Inflation Reduction Act tax credits applicable to their bus and infrastructure purchases. For example, the Clean Vehicle tax credits for qualifying school buses are worth up to $40,000.
EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, rural areas, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and public school districts receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land.
Application period: Sept. 28, 2023 – Jan. 31, 2024
Differences from 2022 EPA Rebate Program(Taken from insights provided by Alison Wiley, World Resource Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative.)
- New wheelchair lift allowance of $20,000 is available
- $345,000 topline (max) per bus for prioritized districts
- Non-prioritized districts are now included: $200,000 topline per bus, 40% of funds
- Rebates inclusive of ESB and chargers
- Workforce training development and consulting services included (optional)
Commerce Washington EV Charging Program
This opportunity supports installing Level 2 or DCFC for:
- Multi-family residential charging
- Publicly available charging in underserved communities
- Fleet depot and workplace charging
Eligible lead applicants:
- Electric utilities
- Public agencies
- Federally recognized Tribal governments
- Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations
Lead applicants are encouraged to partner with each other and the private sector, including charging companies or site hosts.
Application period: Sept. 6 – Dec. 1, 2023
Ecology Charge Where You Are Program
This funding opportunity supports installing 4-10 Level 2 charging plugs for:
- Multi-unit residential buildings
- Publicly available charging
- Fleet and workplace charging
Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to:
- Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations
- Public organizations
- Tribal governments
Application period: Sept. 26 – Nov. 16, 2023
Ecology: Scrap and replace or repower diesel vehicles/equipment with ZE models
Local governments, Tribes, and ports are among the groups eligible to apply for new grants to replace diesel street sweepers, refuse vehicles, freight switcher locomotives, cargo-handling equipment, and forklifts with zero-emissions models. The Washington Department of Ecology is offering the grants – totaling $16.3 million – from the Volkswagen Settlement funds they manage. The grants can also be used for related charging and fueling infrastructure. Learn more:
Application period: July 26, 2023 – October 26, 2023
Seattle’s Electric Trucks Pilot
The City of Seattle’s Heavy Duty Vehicle Electrification Incentive Pilot aims to bring new electric drayage trucks to the Duwamish Valley in the next two years, with the potential to scale as new federal and state incentives grant programs are developed and implemented.
Eligible projects: The City of Seattle investment will fund point of sale rebates for new electric vehicles operating in the Duwamish community. Incentives are available for Battery Electric Class 8 Tractor Trailer Trucks and will cover 40% (Up to $180,000) per truck for a total of $1.7 million available in funding.
Eligible applicants: Current and new drayage fleet owners based in Washington servicing the Port of Seattle, based in the city of Seattle, or based in the Duwamish Valley. Priority will be given to Independent Owner Operators, small drayage fleets, and Women-and Minority-Owned businesses.
Applications due: Oct. 16, 2023.
EPA 2023 Clean School Bus Grant Program
EPA recently announced the 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Grant Program. In EPA’s 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Grant Program, approximately $400 million will be awarded to eligible applicants to purchase of zero-emission (ZE) school buses, clean school buses, and ZE charging infrastructure. This funding opportunity includes one program for school district and Tribal applicants and one for third-party applicants.
EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, rural areas, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and public school districts receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land and rural areas. EPA is committed to ensuring the CSB Program delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.
Resources to help you apply
Electric School Bus Resources
Applying for EPA eSB Grants
Applicants must submit all grant application materials to Grants.gov by August 22, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Learn more about this opportunity, application documents, technical resources, and how to apply on the opportunity webpage.
EPA is hosting webinars to provide an overview of this funding opportunity and how to apply. Details are posted to the Clean School Bus Webinars webpage.
Electrification of Transportation Systems Grants Round 2
The Clean Energy Fund (CEF) – Electrification of Transportation Systems (ETS) Round 2 Grants program provides funding for local governments and federally recognized Tribal governments to procure, install, and integrate EV supply infrastructure and/or hydrogen refueling station infrastructure in rural communities.
Funding covers innovative projects that:
- Fill EVSE/hydrogen deployment gaps in rural communities with new infrastructure
- Upgrade existing infrastructure to better serve end-users and uses in rural communities and facilitate long distance travel, or
- Construct additional EVSE or hydrogen fueling stations where needed in rural communities to increase system resiliency and better support end-users and uses.
Please see the Electrification of Transportation Systems Program on the Commerce website for more information.
Ecology Clean Fuel Program: Grant to Replace Diesel Fire Apparatus with Electric Fire Apparatus
Ecology provided approximately $5 million to scrap and replace 2009 and older diesel fire apparatuses with electric fire apparatuses, including the associated charging infrastructure.
Applications were due on December 15, 2022.
Eligibility The grant is open to fire departments, fire districts, regional fire authorities, Tribal entities, and other public entities providing fire protection services in Washington. Eligible fire apparatuses must:
- Have a 2009 or older model year engine.
- Be publicly owned.
- Have been licensed and operational for at least two years prior to October 6, 2022.
- Have at least three years of remaining life.
- Have accumulated at least 7,000 miles/year during the two years prior to October 6, 2022.
Videos about available electric fire apparatus options are available on our Public Fleet Success page.
WSDOT Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnership Grants
WSDOT ZAP Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced the Zero-emissions Access Program (ZAP) grant funding opportunity for 2021-2023. ZAP grants fund zero-emissions carshare pilot programs in underserved and low- to moderate-income communities that have limited access to public transportation or are in areas where emissions exceed state or federal standards.
The 13 projects awarded a total of $2.2 million for the 2021-2023 biennium are listed at the bottom of WSDOT’s ZAP Grant webpage.
Ecology Clean Diesel Grants
Ecology administers the Clean Diesel Grants program. Funding is available for the following entities:
- Air Quality Clean School Bus Grant Program 2022-2023 School bus owners that transport students to Central and Eastern Washington K-12 schools overseen by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Air Quality Clean Diesel Grant Program 2022-2023 Cities, counties, public utility districts/co-ops, ports, transit authorities, school districts, state government, tribes, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and local clean air agencies.
Commerce Electrification of Transportation Systems (ETS) Program
Commerce is accepting grant applications for the Clean Energy Fund – Electrification of Transportation Systems (ETS) Grants program. PHASE ONE applications were due on September 15, 2022.
ETS grants provide funding for local governments, federally recognized Tribal governments, small utilities, and state agencies to integrate and manage electrical load from EVSE. Funding covers innovative projects that prepare communities to construct and/or expand EVSE through early-stage consultant studies, engineer designs, or direct capital asset investments and infrastructure upgrades.
WSDOT Green Transportation Capital Grants
The Washington State Legislature Green Transportation Capital Grant (RCW 47.66.120) is awarded to transit agencies to fund capital projects to reduce the carbon intensity of the Washington transportation system. Examples include electrification of vehicle fleets, capital facilities to facilitate fleet electrification and/or hydrogen refueling and upgrades to electrical transmission and distribution systems.
These nine 2021-2023 Green Transportation Capital Grant winners were awarded nearly $16.5 million for July 2021 to June 2023.
Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships
For the 2017-2019 program, WSDOT selected two projects through a competitive process to install 15 new EV charging stations near highway exits about 40 miles apart.
WSDOT Green Transit Grants
Electrification of Transportation
Commerce awarded $9.8 million for EV charging infrastructure through the Electrification of Transportation Systems Program to promote the continued transformation of the electric transportation market in Washington. Commerce prioritized projects in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution from transportation systems, many of which are often low-income and communities of color, and communities underserved by existing electric transportation infrastructure. The following proposed projects were conditionally awarded grants.
During fall 2019, Ecology offered grants to provide up to $2,250,000 to install Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast charging equipment for employee workplace charging at government-owned facilities in Washington. Eligible applicants included state, county, and city governments in Washington. The maximum amount for an individual grant award was set at $200,000.
Award recipients are listed below.
In December 2019, Ecology opened a grant opportunity for DC fast chargers along high-traffic transportation corridors in Washington. About $4 million was available on a competitive basis to state, local, or tribal governments; private businesses and incorporated nonprofits. Ecology prioritized projects in communities disproportionately impacted by VW vehicle diesel pollution and those located within 1.5 miles of a high-traffic corridor. The maximum amount for an individual grant award is $600,000.
Over 50 entities submitted applications for nearly $4 million available to install DC fast chargers along Washington’s transportation corridors. Award recipients are listed below.
VW Settlement for Tribal Governments
In 2015 Volkswagen was cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for violating emissions standards by selling diesel vehicles equipped with "defeat devices." These devices allowed the cars to pass federal emissions tests, but during actual driving conditions they emitted significantly more air pollutants than allowed by the Clean Air Act. The federal government sued the company, and in 2016 VW settled the cases for $14.7 billion.
As part of the settlement, $2.8 billion was set aside for states and Tribes to fund diesel emission mitigation projects. $55 million of this money is earmarked for Tribes, in a trust called the "Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust for Indian Tribe Beneficiaries," or just the "Tribal Trust." Any federally recognized Tribe can apply for funding from the Tribal Trust, which they can use to replace old, polluting diesel vehicles or equipment with new, cleaner models, or even install EV charging stations.
January 15, 2020 - The Trustee Notice of the Third Funding Cycle Under The Modified Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust for Indian Tribe Beneficiaries is available here.
Electric School Buses
In one of the largest such investments in the country, the Washington Department of Ecology offered grants during fall 2019 for about $12 million statewide to help school districts purchase all-electric school buses. To help offset the cost difference between electric and diesel buses, Ecology would provide up to $325,000 per electric bus. Grant recipients could elect to use up to $50,000 of the $325,000 grant to help pay for the associated electric charging infrastructure. The results of this grant offering were announced in April 2020.
The grants fund the purchase of 40 new electric school buses in 22 districts around the state.
Electric school bus grants, by the numbers (Dept. of Ecology)
- 400,000 – Number of zero-emission miles these buses will drive each year
- 19,200 tons – Lifetime reduction in carbon dioxide emissions
- 3,000 – Number of children these buses will carry each day
- 2007 – All of the electric buses will replace pre-2007 diesel buses, with older emissions controls
- 67% – Two-thirds of these electric buses will serve communities disproportionately affected by diesel pollution.
- 36 tons – Lifetime reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions
- 1 – Current number of electric school buses in Washington (in Tacoma’s Franklin Pierce School District)