Bus Talk podcast to demystify electric school buses


Bus Talk’, inspired by Click & Clack’s Car Talk, intends to be entertaining, informative and educational. The series was launched by Highland Electric Fleets, a provider of school bus fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America, and it features Sean Leach, Director of Technology and Platform Management at Highland, and Tim Shannon, Director of Facilities Planning & Efficiency at Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, California.

Electrification of the school bus fleet in the United States would be significant in terms of carbon reduction in the atmosphere, as school transportation is the largest mass transit system in the U.S.– a $28 billion industry. With more states following California’s lead and enacting 100% zero-emission transportation mandates, schools face increasing pressure to electrify fleets.

Acknowledging that the process is expensive and can be complex, ‘Bus Talk” plans to provide basic facts and unravels misconceptions about electrification of a school transportation system. With the nation’s fleet of buses currently standing at about a half million, the EPA’s $10 billion Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) and additional incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act are not enough to cover full costs of the conversion. So in addition to talking about cost, other topics will include what it really takes to charge a fleet of buses to range anxiety, cost savings, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) use cases.

“If you didn’t care about electric school buses before, you will now,” said Highland Director of Technology and Platform Management Sean Leach. “School buses traditionally have been overlooked, but they can do so much more for your community than just move people around twice a day.”

Highland Electric Fleets provides electrification-as-a-service, which includes managing the planning, bus and charger procurement, infrastructure installation, utility partnerships, electricity, guaranteed performance, and more—all for a fixed annual fee. The company reports that it was the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) program in Mass. and Vermont, and that it partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools to build the largest electric school bus fleet in North America. Highland currently has over 330 electric school buses under subscription.

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