The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland has approved a contract with Highland Electric Transportation to convert its school bus fleet to electric, starting with 326 school buses over the next four years.

It's the largest single deployment of electric school buses in North America. According to the press release, Montgomery County Public Schools operates more than 200 schools and serves over 160,000 students county-wide, using over 1,400 school buses. 326 EVs would be then close to one-quarter of the fleet.

The vehicles will be supplied by Thomas Built Buses, which offers Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley model, powered by Proterra battery system (226 kWh for up to 135 miles/217 km of range).

"Under the agreement, Highland and its project partners, including Thomas Built Buses, Proterra, and Annapolis-based 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."

Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley
Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley

An interesting thing is that the fleet will be ready for a V2G system and utilized as an energy storage on wheels (during idle periods):

"In addition, 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. Highland takes on the obligation of internalizing these values, which shift the cost of ownership for the electrified fleets, helping to deliver budget neutrality to MCPS."

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