Peak to Peak Charter School partners with Highland to provide fleet of all-electric school buses

Highland has helped train the new bus drivers and will cover maintenance and electricity costs for the buses and chargers through a full service agreement.

LAFAYETTE, Col. – Highland Electric Fleets, a fleet electrification-as-a-service provider, and Peak to Peak Charter School in the Boulder Valley School District have partnered to launch a fleet of electric buses to serve students across the school.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis spoke Oct. 27 at the official launch event to recognize Colorado’s first all-electric school bus fleet. Under his leadership, Colorado enacted SB 193, allocating $65 million for electric school buses in the state and accelerating the transition to cleaner, healthier transportation for Colorado students, drivers and communities.

“This is another exciting step toward Colorado’s clean energy future, better air quality and increased savings for Colorado schools,” Polis said. “More and more schools are switching to electric buses to cut costs so that money that would have been spent on diesel fuel can instead be spent on better teacher salaries and smaller class sizes.”

According to the press release, Peak to Peak Charter School has engaged with Highland as an affordable solution to provide transportation for student sports and activities. Highland provides the school with full-service fleet electrification that includes financing and services for a fixed annual fee over ten years with an option to extend for five years. This allowed Peak to Peak to avoid the high upfront cost of purchasing electric buses (typically $350,000 each) and provide clean, reliable transportation for its students at a manageable price, the company says.

“Without the expertise of Highland Electric Fleets, Peak to Peak would not have been able to build an electric bus fleet from scratch,” said Sam Todd, Executive Director of Operations at Peak to Peak Charter School. “Their knowledge of this new electric bus frontier and available subsidies makes the program affordable. It is a dream come true for our school and our students.

Highland has also partnered with McCandless Truck Center to provide IC and Collins/Lightning electric buses and will manage the electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and infrastructure installed over the past summer at the Peak to Peak campus. . Highland has also helped train the school’s new bus drivers and will cover maintenance and electricity costs for the buses and chargers through a full service agreement with the school.

“Completing a first-of-its-kind project in the state of Colorado through our innovative public-private partnership is making clean, reliable electric school buses available for less than a fleet of diesel buses,” said Richard DiMatteo, executive vice president of Highland and head of the company’s second Denver headquarters. “As the largest all-electric school bus fleet in the state, we now have clear proof that electrification is not a pipe dream, but the smartest, most affordable option today. With high fuel prices and diesel bus maintenance costs, now is the best time to upgrade, giving Colorado residents the air quality the state deserves.

Prior to 2020, Peak to Peak used Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) buses for student transportation needs. During the pandemic, the shortage of bus drivers has compounded transportation problems. BVSD had to make difficult decisions regarding the management of personnel and resources. Unfortunately, this meant that Peak to Peak could no longer hire buses for excursions, athletics and student activities. The district needed to find an affordable solution to provide consistent and reliable transportation and could not undertake a complex infrastructure project alone.

“Highland managed the entire project, stayed within our budget and provided the necessary infrastructure and electric buses,” Todd said. “This fall, we are pleased to offer this new opportunity to our students and our families. This will make our after-school programs more accessible to a wide range of students. Additionally, we can now be less dependent on our community of parents/guardians for extra-curricular transportation.

For more information on Highland Electric Fleets, visit highlandfleets.com.

Carol N. Valencia