Montgomery County Public Schools procures nation’s largest fleet of electric school buses - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions  -  February 25, 2021

Montgomery County Public Schools procures nation’s largest fleet of electric school buses

Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Board of Education announced on Feb. 25 that it approved a contract to convert its school bus fleet to all-electric, starting with 326 buses over the next four years. This project represents the largest single procurement of electric school buses in North America.

The transition to electric school buses will deliver health and climate benefits for the community. Converting the school bus fleet will reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 tons per year while cutting diesel pollution harmful to human health, contributing to both Maryland and Montgomery County goals. The project was awarded an $817,000 grant from Maryland Energy Association (MEA), which helps offset the purchase cost of vehicles that is critical at this early stage of mass deployment.

“I figured that at some point electric bus prices would fall enough to make it affordable, but this deal makes it affordable now,” Todd Watkins, Transportation Director for MCPS, said in a statement.

Highland Electric Transportation will provide the electric fleet. The electric buses will lend their batteries to deliver stored electricity to the local electricity markets, interconnected through Pepco, which helps the community integrate renewable energy and support grid resiliency. 

Montgomery County Public Schools operates more than 200 schools and serves more than 160,000 students county-wide. The MCPS Department of Transportation is one of the largest in the country, with an over 1,400 school bus fleet.

“We are honored to partner with Montgomery County on this innovative program. We believe this project is a great example of the power of public-private partnerships as we seek to electrify school bus fleets across the country,” Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland, also said in the statement.”

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