Business & Investment

Maryland Approved Largest Electric School Bus Transaction in the United States

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The school system outside Washington is ready to become the country’s largest operator of electric school buses.

On February 23, the Board of Education in Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously approved a 16-year, $ 169 million contract to lease 326 buses. This is part of the county’s plan to replace all 1,422 buses over the next 20 years. ..

According to Monique Harris, a spokeswoman for the Advanced Energy Economy, an industry group that promotes the use of clean energy, the deal is the largest order of any kind of municipality for buses.

The Biden administration has pledged to support the adoption of electric vehicles, saying automakers intend to convert fleets to electric vehicles in the coming decades. Early February 23, the United States Postal Service announced a 10-year contract to replace as many as 165,000 vehicles with fuel-efficient engines or battery-powered vehicles.

Montgomery County is working with vendors who are paying to install equipment to charge buses at night when electricity costs are low.

Essie McGuire, Deputy Director of School Systems in Montgomery County, said at a board of education meeting that the idea of ​​increasing the electrification of school buses had been discussed for some time.

“There was some hope for some time that we could probably secure a very small number through some grants,” she said. “But over time, we wanted to take a more ambitious approach.”

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

The vehicle will be manufactured by Thomas Bus Manufacturing Bus Ink and Protera Ink under a contract coordinated by Highland Electric Transportation Inc. Todd Watkins, transport director at Montgomery County Public School, said the deal is not dependent on federal grants.

Highland provides buses, installs charging equipment at county bus stops and trains drivers. The company also provides maintenance and manages charging operations.

The county estimates that the cost is consistent with what it would have spent on diesel buses and operations.

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Watkins said the deal would allow the county to avoid high initial costs and predicted that electric bus costs would continue to fall as more districts abolished standard diesel vehicles across generations.

“It costs less than what the district spends on diesel,” Watkins said. “I think it will save fuel and maintenance at first. Electric bus prices will fall, diesel bus prices will rise to the point where they meet, and eventually diesel buses will be unavailable. . “

“I heard at a national conference that this would take over the school bus industry,” he said, adding that school buses are naturally suitable for electrification of the entire fleet. “We know exactly where they are going overnight and how far they are going. It’s like the best vehicle to electrify.”

Emission factor

The district will receive the first 25 buses by the end of the year. The county will receive 61 additional electric buses in the fall of 2022, and in the additional phase of the contract will receive approximately 120 electric buses each in the remaining two years.

Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland Electric Transportation, said the plan was “almost 100% privately funded” and “a transition to scalable electrification.”

Genevieve Cullen, chairman of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, said there was an urgent need to power large vehicles such as buses and trucks. She added that such vehicles make up only 5% of vehicles on American roads, but account for 29% of transport emissions.

“Clearly, transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions,” Karen said in an interview. “Medium and large machines contribute significantly to these emissions. To tackle the problem, they need to be medium and large. They are large emitters, so the benefits are greater. Fleet is large. Because it’s a purchase, you can also throw in the fact that the market is moving. “

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Maryland Approved Largest Electric School Bus Transaction in the United States Maryland Approved Largest Electric School Bus Transaction in the United States

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