The 25 electric school buses, a mix of IC Bus and Collins Bus vehicles, are delivered through K....

The 25 electric school buses, a mix of IC Bus and Collins Bus vehicles, are delivered through K. Neal Truck & Bus Center.

Image: Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools will deploy 25 electric school buses and install 25 chargers during the 2023-2024 school year through a partnership with fleet electrification-as-a-service provider Highland Electric Fleets.

The Maryland school district qualified as a priority district under the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus Program and received $9.4 million during the first round of funding. The district is purchasing 20 Type C electric school buses from IC Bus and five Type A electric buses from Collins Bus "to bring cleaner, more equitable transportation to historically marginalized Baltimore communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change," according to a news release.

"We are excited that by electrifying our school bus fleet, we will contribute to cleaner air for students and staff, and for our entire community," said Lynette Washington, chief operating officer for Baltimore City Public Schools. "We were able to embrace this innovation in student transportation as a result of partnerships like the one we have with Highland. They have been a great partner in helping us develop and launch our electric bus program."

The 25 electric school buses, delivered through K. Neal Truck & Bus Center, will serve an initial group of about 350 students daily, including students with special education needs.

"K. Neal Truck & Bus Center is excited to partner with Highland to serve the students and residents of the City of Baltimore," said Korey Neal, president of K. Neal Truck & Bus Center. "This partnership marks the start of a greener future in the Mid-Atlantic region. We are grateful to be entrusted with the opportunity to provide best-in-class services and environmentally friendly products for the safety and best interest of our students, neighbors, and larger community."

In this arrangement, Highland handles procurement of the buses and charging equipment, covers the cost of electricity, maintenance, and labor, trains bus drivers and mechanics, and offers a charge-readiness guarantee for the duration of a 12-year contract.

"Highland has become the go-to partner for making more equitable, cleaner student transportation a reality for the communities that need it most," said Duncan McIntyre, CEO and founder of Highland Electric Fleets. "We are thrilled to support City Schools' sustainability goals and look forward to helping them expedite their electrification transition."

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