Beverly, Mass. – The City of Beverly and Beverly Public Schools today unveiled its first all-electric school bus, marking a significant milestone as the community transitions its fleet of school buses from diesel to battery-electric.
The new Thomas Built Buses Inc’s Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley electric school bus is powered by Proterra® electric vehicle technology. The project represents the first all-electric school bus in Beverly and the first Thomas Built all-electric school bus in New England.
Beverly is a leader in sustainability efforts and has a long history of supporting and adopting green and sustainable initiatives. Among the community’s sustainability goals, Beverly Public Schools intends to convert its entire fleet of 27 school buses from diesel to battery-electric.
“Beverly is incredibly thrilled to have our first all-electric school bus. We are proud to be one of the first communities in Massachusetts to acquire an electric school bus and to begin transitioning our fleet from diesel to electric. This bus produces zero emissions which creates a healthier environment four the students and residents,” stated Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill who also serves as a Beverly School Committee member.
Mayor Cahill is a member of the Climate Mayors Steering Committee, a group of over 20 mayors who will serve as a leading voice in efforts to further climate action across the U.S. making up the Climate Mayors coalition.
Transitioning to electric school buses in Beverly offers multiple benefits to students and the community. In addition to providing a zero-emission transportation solution that will reduce emissions harmful to human health and the environment, battery-electric vehicles offer greater efficiency with fuel cost savings as well as lower maintenance and operating costs. For students returning to school, these buses offer additional safety features, such as interior and rear back-up cameras, Wi-Fi and ventilation systems to help mitigate the spread of harmful viruses and bacteria.
Dana Cruikshank, Beverly Public Schools Director of Transportation said, “I’ve been in the pupil transportation business for many years and last week was one of the most exciting days in my career to see the first all-electric school bus drive into our bus depot. We’re thrilled to have the electric school bus in our fleet and to start retiring the diesel buses.”
In January 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced the availability of five VW Settlement Trust-funded open grant programs aimed at reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and greenhouse gas (GHG) across Massachusetts, while supporting electrification of the state’s transportation network.
Beverly issued a request for proposal (RFP) in summer 2019 to lease its first electric school bus and the winning bidder was Highland Electric Transportation of Hamilton, Massachusetts. In addition, in September 2020, Beverly issued a request for proposal for a second electric bus and again the bid was awarded to Highland Electric Transportation. The second electric school bus will arrive in early 2021.
To assist with the electric school bus project, Highland Electric Transportation received a Volkswagen Open Solicitation Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and was also recently awarded grant funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Accelerating Clean Transportation Program to secure a second bus.
Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland Electric Transportation stated, “We are excited to partner with Beverly as they transition to an all-electric school bus fleet. Mayor Cahill is a pioneer in renewable energy and electrification of transportation and he and his team are setting a terrific example for other cities and towns. They are building the EV transition blueprint for communities throughout the Commonwealth and country.”
Thomas Built Buses and Proterra offer school bus operators a comprehensive, turn-key electric vehicle program that includes electric school buses, charging systems, and charging infrastructure design and installation. The Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley couples 220 kWh of total energy capacity, the highest battery capacity in the industry, with the Proterra drivetrain to offer unparalleled energy efficiency and up to 134 miles of drive range to meet the needs of school bus fleets. Additionally, the Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus can fast charge in about three hours with the Proterra DC charging system. Thomas’ authorized dealer, New England Transit Sales, Inc., is the selling dealer for the bus. New England Transit Sales, located in Tyngsborough MA, will provide ongoing training and support for the new bus.
“We applaud the City of Beverly for leading the way to an all-electric future of pupil transportation,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “Along with our partner, Proterra, Thomas Built Buses is proud to provide Beverly with the buses and expertise for making the transition to an electric school bus fleet.”
“Switching to battery-electric school buses offers a safe and reliable mode of transportation that improves air quality and protects the health of students and communities. Beverly has long been a leader in the adoption of clean energy solutions. Proterra is proud to help build on this legacy by powering the city’s transition to electric buses with our partner Thomas Built Buses. We look forward to delivering clean, quiet pupil transportation to the community,” said Proterra CEO Jack Allen.
National Grid, the utility that serves Beverly, Mass., has deployed thousands of charging ports across the Northeast to encourage and enable EV adoption. National Grid, the electric utility provider, is a key stakeholder in this project.
“Clean transportation is key to fighting climate change,” said Badar Khan, President of National Grid, US. “We are proud to have helped Beverly Public Schools offset the costs of this electric school bus by providing the infrastructure that connects the charger to the grid. All children deserve to breathe clean air and travel to school without compromising their health. We will work with Beverly Public Schools to replace more diesel school buses with clean electric buses. We want to help other school districts do the same.”