Celebrating the Largest School Bus Electrification Project in the U.S.
MCPS and Highland Electric Fleets (Highland), the leading provider of school bus fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the country’s single largest deployment of electric school buses at Walter Johnson High School. Watch the video and see photos from the event.
“Moving to electric transportation is not only a necessary response to climate change, but it is also something students have asked for at Board of Education meetings,” said Board of Education President Brenda Wolff. “My Board colleagues and I are pleased to support this effort and thank all MCPS staff who work to support environmental sustainability in the school system.”
Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight says the school system is proud to be at the forefront of this work. “Moving to an electrified school bus fleet makes sense and is the future of transportation for all of us,” she said. “The school bus is the first and last contact with our students each day, and a new, modern school bus reflects our commitment to an excellent experience for students.”
Climate change and concerns about student and community health are driving school bus electrification mandates around the country, including in Maryland. The state’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 requires all new school bus purchases and contracts to be electric by 2025.
On a typical school day, MCPS diesel buses use approximately 17,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which emit greenhouse gasses and harmful matter from tailpipes. Replacing the diesel bus fleet with electric buses brings MCPS one step closer to its pledge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035.
Highland is partnering with MCPS to upgrade 326 school buses to electric by 2025. The collaboration will deliver cleaner, healthier transportation for students and local communities and support electric grid reliability with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services and the nation’s first use of electric school buses to provide synchronized energy reserves.
Highland uses an innovative public-private partnership model that removes the upfront cost and complexity of upgrading to electric school buses. This makes deploying electric buses faster to help communities meet the mandates.
During the 2021-2022 school year, MCPS installed electric infrastructure at one of its transportation depots and saw the delivery of its first 25 electric buses. This school year, another 61 buses will be delivered and electric infrastructure will be installed at three more transportation depots.