Highland Electric Fleets

CO2 misses the bus

1 minute read

Duncan McIntyre was jarred the first time he saw a school bus tailpipe spewing harmful particulates and pollutants at the exact same height of his second-grader son’s mouth. “I realized just how important it was to provide cleaner, healthier transportation for the next generation,” says McIntyre, founder and CEO of Highland Electric Fleets. The five-year-old company operates the largest electric school bus fleet in the U.S., with over 600 electric vehicles under contract in 30 states. Highland collaborates with school districts and municipalities throughout the electrification process, from helping them secure grants and rebates from sources like the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program to installing chargers and training drivers. (With a focus on helping low-income districts electrify, this year they helped Minnesota’s only school district located in a sovereign tribal nation get funding for two of their buses.) Its all-encompassing approach includes a neat vehicle-to-grid trick: when students are in class or at home, the buses’ batteries can store excess renewable energy from the local grid or provide power to help meet demand surges and prevent outages. But the biggest benefit McIntyre expects to see as electric school buses multiply? Fewer asthma-related absences during the school year.

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