Highland Electric Fleets, a provider of school bus fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America, has launched Bus Talk to demystify the technology around EV school buses and share the benefits of upgrading to electric. Inspired by Click & Clack's Car Talk, Highland's tongue-in-cheek video podcast series includes seven episodes answering frequently asked questions about electric school buses that are entertaining, informative, and educational.
Featuring Sean Leach, director of technology and platform management at Highland, and Tim Shannon, director of facilities planning and efficiency at Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, Cali., each episode of Bus Talk dives into foundational facts and unravels misconceptions about electric school buses - from what it really takes to charge a fleet of buses to range anxiety, cost savings, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) use cases, and more.
The largest mass transit system in the U.S., school transportation is a $28-billion industry. With more states enacting 100% zero-emission transportation mandates, schools face increasing pressure to electrify fleets, but the process can be complex and expensive. Even the EPA's $10 billion Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) and additional incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act are not enough to convert the nation's fleet of nearly 500,000 buses with any sort of speed or urgency.
Highland removes the upfront cost and complexity of transitioning to electric school buses by managing planning, bus and charger procurement, infrastructure installation, utility partnerships, electricity, guaranteed performance, and more, for a fixed annual fee. Its innovative public-private partnership model makes deploying electric buses faster and more scalable, with a clear path to transforming one of the largest sectors of public transportation in the U.S.
"If you didn't care about electric school buses before, you will now," Leach said. "School buses traditionally have been overlooked, but they can do so much more for your community than just move people around twice a day."