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Bloomberg News: Biggest Electric School Bus Deal in U.S. Approved in Maryland

Posted by Keith Laing on Feb 24, 2021

Bloomberg News quoted AEE on the clean energy impact of Highland Electric Transportation’s school bus electrification contract with Maryland's Montgomery County Board of Education. Read excerpts below and the full story here (sub req).

A school system outside Washington is poised to become the nation’s biggest operator of electric school buses... The Board of Education in Maryland’s Montgomery County voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to approve a 16-year, $169 million contract to lease 326 buses, part of a plan that could result in the county replacing its entire 1,422-bus fleet over the next two decades.

The deal represents the largest municipal government order of any kind for buses, according to Monique Hanis, a spokeswoman for Advanced Energy Economy, a business association that promotes clean energy use.

The Biden administration has pledged to support the adoption of electric vehicles and automakers have said they intend to convert their fleets to electric in coming decades… Montgomery County is working with a vendor that is paying to install equipment to charge the buses at night when power costs are low in exchange for being able to re-sell unused power from the bus batteries back to the grid when it is more valuable...

Plug-in car supporters say they hope the deal becomes a template for school districts and government agencies across the country.

The vehicles will be built by Thomas Built Buses Inc. and Proterra Inc. in a deal coordinated by Highland Electric Transportation Inc. Todd Watkins, the transportation director of Montgomery County Public Schools, said the contract would be the first electric school bus contract in the nation that is not dependent on federal grants.

Highland will provide buses, install charging facilities at the county’s bus depots and train drivers. The company will also provide maintenance and manage the charging operation…

“It costs no more what districts are spending on diesel,” Watkins said. “We think there’s going to be savings initially on fuel and maintenance. The price of electric buses will fall and the price of diesel buses is going to rise to the point that they meet. And, eventually, you won’t be able to get a diesel bus.”...

Duncan McIntyre, chief executive officer of Highland Electric Transportation, said the plan is a “scalable transition to electrification” that is “almost 100% privately financed...”

Read the full story here (sub req).

 

Topics: AEE In The News