Highland Electric Fleets, a provider of turnkey electrification services for school bus fleets in North America, and school bus manufacturer Thomas Built Buses (TBB) are expanding their relationship to reduce upfront costs and speed adoption of electric school buses.
The two companies signed a letter of intent (LOI) that will allow Highland to provide electric school bus subscriptions through 2025 at prices that put them at cost parity with diesel.
The LOI builds on a relationship that has already resulted in a 326-bus order approved by Montgomery County Public Schools in February 2021. The first 45-charger depot has been installed in Bethesda, Md.; the first 25 buses began transporting students this month. The LOI will enable Highland and TBB to replicate similar large-scale, multi-year deployments in the U.S. and Canada.
Highland offers a full-service subscription model that includes school buses, installs charging infrastructure, manages charging, provides fleet and driver training resources, and manages service to keep fleets running smoothly.
“School districts taking a long-term approach to electrifying their fleets can now do so today, affordably. This relationship allows school districts and fleet operators to go electric at the same cost as a diesel bus,” says Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland. “Together with Thomas Built Buses, we have already fulfilled the nation’s largest school bus order. That experience and the quality of their all-electric Jouley school bus makes them a perfect partner to support customers’ long-term success and build cleaner communities.”
Designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S., the all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley from TBB is offered with 226 kWh of total energy capacity, enabling an operating range of up to 138 miles on a single charge and meeting the needs of most school bus fleets.
“We’re thankful for the partnership to date, as well as for the prospect of a long-lasting relationship with Highland,” states Kevin Bangston, TBB’s president and CEO. “Their clear dedication to customers, vision for a future of zero-emissions school buses, and unique model of providing a holistic, turnkey solution is the perfect complement to our own engineering and manufacturing expertise.”