How We Do It

The Nitty Gritty.

The Path to Electrification

Electric School Bus Budget Neutrality

A white plug on a blue parking space

Even though the upfront purchase price of electric buses far exceeds that of diesel buses, the lifetime total cost of ownership (TCO) can be lower than that of diesel, if properly managed and maintained. In order to achieve cost parity for electric and diesel TCO, Highland uses vehicle-to-grid (V2G) incentives, managed charging, reduced maintenance, strategic infrastructure installation and management, and coordinates clean transportation incentives. Vehicle-to-grid technology can supply power back to the grid when demand is highest, a service which power companies will pay customers for. Unlike the volume-based purchase of diesel fuel, electricity purchasing uses both “volume” and demand based structures, which requires thorough knowledge of the industry to fully reduce energy costs. The substantial decrease in parts on an electric bus (about 70 compared to 3,700) reduces both unexpected and routine repairs. By contracting with Highland, school districts allow Highland to take on all of the risk associated with new technology adoption and budget-neutrality.

Contact us to learn more and get started! We’re happy to begin by assessing your fleet and duty-cycles to help you understand your path to electrification.

Maximizing the benefit to your budget

Grant and Incentive Coordination

A plant growing out of coins in a woman's hand

One important service Highland provides to customers is that of incentive application and coordination. There is substantial funding for clean vehicles, especially heavy duty vehicles like school buses, but getting your hands on it is another story. Highland knows the ins and outs of sources like the VW Settlement fund, and has extensive grant writing experience and success. Highland takes on the time and energy needed to apply for these funds, and when granted we pass these savings into the contract price for our customers.

Why Go Electric?

The Benefits of EVSB Adoption

Breathe Easy on an EVSB
EVSBs are 100% emissions-free from tailpipe, completely eliminating the harmful emissions students are exposed to on diesel buses. These include volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), particulate matter (PM2.5), and nitrogen oxide (NOx).
Reduced Operating Costs
EVSBs save school districts money in annual operating costs. Electricity costs are lower than diesel to drive the same number of miles. Annual transportation costs can be more predictable, since electricity prices are relatively stable compared to diesel prices. Maintenance costs are lower for EVSBs since they have thousands of fewer moving parts and lack many of the components that need routine maintenance (oil changes, spark plugs, exhaust systems).
Mobile Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)
The mobility of EVSBs allows them to act as emergency power sources. EVSBs with V2G are also rolling power supplies, that may be deployed during severe weather events and electrical blackouts. Buses can discharge energy to power microgrids, temporary shelters (which are typically housed in schools), field hospitals, gas stations, refrigeration applications, and more.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Impact
An EVSB that travels 10,000 annual miles in New York (to reflect an average electricity grid generation) reduces carbon dioxide emissions by over 33,000 lbs. each year compared to a diesel, and more than 250 tons over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Noise Reduction

EVSBs have virtually no operational noise, which provides better audible acuity for drivers and translates into a more relaxing, quiet rider experience. They also reduce noise pollution in the neighborhoods that they travel through. EVSBs are actually so quiet that they’re equipped with an external sound noise generation system in order to make students and pedestrians aware of their presence.

Let us start analyzing your fleet and illuminate a path to electrification.

We’ll help you ever step of the way.

The Hard Data

What the Research Shows

A chalkboard showing graph of reduced costs

Highland’s own research and model for financing and supporting EVSB projects is supported by external data and modeling. Recent findings from researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show how electric school buses (EVSB) can save money for school systems. The excitement about the zero-emissions buses has been met with some hesitation at the high upfront acquisition price. Luckily, optimization modeling at NREL has been able to show that a variety of combinations of solar, vehicle-to-building energy transfer, and managed charging can all reduce the lifetime cost enough for schools to purchase these vehicles.

Over the years that an electric school bus operates, it can eliminate 12,000 gallons of diesel and save over $80,000 total. The computer model that saved schools the most money supplied electricity from bus batteries back to buildings, highlighting how bidirectional charging equipment (which can put energy into and pull energy from the bus battery) is important for keeping overall EVSB costs low.

This research also looked at different battery technologies and chemistries, since there has been concern that increased battery use could decrease performance. Most showed 80% or higher capacity remaining after ten years of driving with managed charging, a fact which can reduce these concerns. The models can also be used to help design the best strategies to preserve battery function.