Highland Electric Transportation Inc. selected a Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus, powered by Proterra, to operate in partnership with Beverly (Mass.) Public Schools. File photo courtesy Thomas Built Buses

Highland Electric Transportation Inc. selected a Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus, powered by Proterra, to operate in partnership with Beverly (Mass.) Public Schools. File photo courtesy Thomas Built Buses

BEVERLY, Mass. — Highland Electric Transportation Inc. (HET) has selected Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus, powered by Proterra, to operate in partnership with Beverly (Mass.) Public Schools.

HET, a Massachusetts-based owner and operator of electric vehicles for commercial fleets, has partnered with the City of Beverly and the Beverly Public Schools transportation department to deploy the electric school bus for the district, Proterra, a supplier of electric vehicle technology, announced in a news release on Monday. HET will own, fuel, and pay for all maintenance, while the transportation department will drive and dispatch the vehicle. HET, which secured grant funding from the state’s Volkswagen (VW) settlement program to acquire the electric bus, is also working with local utility provider National Grid and is deploying a vehicle-to-grid strategy with the bus.

“We are excited to lower the upfront cost of an electric school bus by offering our innovative model to Beverly,” said Duncan McIntyre, CEO of HET. “We expect operations to be less expensive than the cost to operate a traditional diesel vehicle, and we have taken that risk.”

The electric bus acquisition is also part of a larger partnership that was formed to deliver clean, quiet pupil transportation to Massachusetts students and also includes Proterra and Thomas Built Buses and New England Transit, the bus manufacturer’s local dealer.

The partnership is bringing the first all-electric school bus to Beverly and the first Thomas Built all-electric school bus to New England, according to Proterra.

“This electric school bus will produce zero greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our school district carbon emissions significantly,” said Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill. “In addition, the total cost of ownership in the long term will save the city valuable tax dollars. Transitioning our diesel school bus fleet to all-electric is an important part of addressing climate change and protecting the health of thousands of school children in our city.”  

The Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley is powered by Proterra’s 60-kilowatt (kW) charging system. It couples 220 kWh of total energy capacity with the Proterra drivetrain to offer energy efficiency and range to meet the needs of school bus fleets. Additionally, the electric school bus can charge in about three hours with the Proterra DC-charging system.

“School buses are one of the best applications for battery-electric vehicle technology, and electric school buses provide transportation that improves the air quality for student riders and the community,” said Ryan Popple, Proterra’s CEO.    

Moreover, Proterra and Thomas Built Buses offer school bus operators a comprehensive, turnkey electric vehicle program that extends beyond electric school buses and includes charging systems and charging infrastructure design and installation.

Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, said that the school bus manufacturer is excited to introduce its electric school bus to the state, and is also “passionate about leading the industry in electric school bus innovation with a strong partner like Proterra on our side.”

“With zero emissions at the tailpipe, virtually no noise pollution and limited maintenance, the Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley will have a unique impact on the students of Beverly Public Schools, the community at large, drivers, and technicians,” Edgerly added. 

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