Charlotte School District Starts Electrifying its Bus Fleet


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina is taking its first steps toward school bus electrification. The initial deployment will include three school buses and three chargers.

With the support of funding from Phase II of the North Carolina Volkswagen Settlement — a $68 million fund for projects that reduce NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions and improve air quality — the district will deploy its three new electric buses to support some of the transportation needs of the 105,000 students it transports each day on 836 buses in the fleet’s daily rotation. The total fleet has 1,061 buses.

The project is being managed in collaboration with electrification-as-a-service (EaaS) provider Highland Electric Fleets, who assisted with the grant application and will also provide charging infrastructure implementation.

“We are extremely excited to join the ranks of school transportation systems who are embracing new technology for their fleets,” says Brian Schultz, chief operations officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “The buses will also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”

CMS is taking a key step forward as a national leader in providing clean transportation to its students as the district is home to North Carolina’s largest school bus fleet and is the 10th-largest school bus fleet in the U.S. When the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) announced the Phase II awardees, it provided a total of 161 funded school bus replacements including 43 electric buses. The 43 electric buses will reduce more than 126 tons of NOx emissions over their lifetimes.

“North Carolina is becoming a leader in the energy transition and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ commitment to take the first steps towards electrifying their school bus fleet helps to drive the state’s clean energy goals further,” says Matt Stanberry, vice president of market development at Highland. “We look forward to this partnership to help provide clean, affordable and reliable transportation to students and the community.”

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