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Washington Examiner: Maryland County to Electrify Entire Public School Bus Fleet, Offering Model for Biden

Posted by Abby Smith on Feb 24, 2021

Washington Examiner detailed Highland Electric Transportation’s school bus electrification contract with Montgomery County Public Schools, quoting AEE’s Nat Kreamer on President Biden’s larger plan to electrify U.S. school buses. Read excerpts below and the full story here.

The Montgomery County public school district in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., is switching its bus fleet over to electric models at no additional cost in a first-of-its-kind move that could serve as a model for President Biden.

The fleet deal, which will fully replace Montgomery County’s more than 1,400 diesel-fueled bus fleet with electric models over 12 years, is one of the largest in the United States to date. Biden, in his campaign climate plan, pledged to convert all 500,000 school buses in the U.S. to zero-emissions models and ensure all U.S.-made buses are zero-emissions by 2030…

“This is maybe the first example of a true master plan, commercially scalable program where a whole fleet is going to convert over 12 years,” said Duncan McIntyre, founder and CEO of Highland Electric

Nat Kreamer, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, said fleet solutions companies like Highland Electric can help Biden meet his pledge to electrify U.S. school buses over the next 10 years by bringing private capital and expertise to historically underfunded school districts.

“Many school districts in the country don’t have enough money for their core education program, much less making new investments,” he said.

Kreamer, recently appointed to Highland Electric’s board of directors, said the Biden administration can encourage more fleet deals like the partnership between Montgomery’s school district and Highland Electric by allowing federal grants for electric vehicles to be used for vehicles owned and operated by private entities.

“That’s a simple decision that can be made in the executive branch” about how they administer the program, he said, adding it would leverage private capital to spark larger electric bus purchases and quicker fleet turnover.

McIntyre predicts growing interest in electrifying whole fleets because they have a predictable duty cycle and tend to come back to the same central depot, which is ideal for electric charging infrastructure, he said.

Biden, in his sweeping executive order last month, directed the federal government to explore electrifying its 645,000 vehicles.

“We’re entering a real turning point where fleets are going to be the prime targets to convert,” McIntyre said.

Read the full story here.

 

Topics: AEE In The News