MCPS Approves School Bus Contract with Highland Electric Transportation


The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) board of education has approved a contract with Highland Electric Transportation, a provider of turnkey electric fleet solutions, to convert its school bus fleet to all-electric, starting with 326 school buses over the next four years. 

The project represents the largest single procurement of electric school buses in North America. MCPS operates more than 200 schools and serves over 160,000 students county-wide. The MCPS Department of Transportation is one of the largest in the country, with over 1,400 school buses in its fleet.

“We are honored to partner with Montgomery County on this program,” says Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland Electric Transportation “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.”

Under the agreement, Highland and its project partners, including Thomas Built Buses, Proterra and American Bus, will electrify all five of MCPS’ bus depots, supplying the electric school buses and charging infrastructure along with services including managed charging. Highland will purchase buses manufactured in North Carolina by Thomas Built Buses, which will be supplied and serviced by American Bus. Both companies have been long-time trusted suppliers and partners for the MCPS Department of Transportation. 

Designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S. by Thomas Built Buses, the all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus is powered by Proterra’s electric vehicle technology platform. The Jouley couples 226 kWh of total energy capacity with a Proterra Powered drivetrain to offer an operating range of up to 135 miles on a single charge to meet the needs of school bus fleets.

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. This is the type of project that the MEA Clean Fuels Incentive Program was intended to support – a collaboration between the public and private sector to build a scalable fleet electrification market in the state.

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