MCPS is celebrating the largest school bus electrification project in the United States! Climate change and concerns about student and community health are driving school bus electrification mandates around the country, including in Maryland. The state’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 requires all new school bus purchases and contracts to be electric by 2025. On a typical school day, MCPS diesel buses use approximately 17,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which emit greenhouse gasses and harmful matter from tailpipes. The school district is on track to have 326 electric school buses by 2025 and an entirely electric school bus fleet in 10 years. Replacing the diesel bus fleet with electric buses brings MCPS one step closer to our pledge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035.
During the 2021–2022 school year, the inaugural set of 25 buses were delivered and operated from the MCPS Bethesda School Bus Depot. This location was selected to pilot the installation of the charging infrastructure and electric bus (EV) operation because of its proximity to the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) substation.
At present, EV buses are operating from all five MCPS bus depots: Bethesda, Clarksburg, Randolph, Shady Grove, and West Farm. The lessons learned from the Bethesda Depot project significantly facilitated the construction and installation of charging infrastructure and the successful deployment of EV buses throughout the County. With the addition of 61 buses during the 2022–2023 school year, 86 buses now provide cleaner, and environmentally friendly transportation equitably to our students. MCPS is expecting the delivery of an additional 240 buses between now and the end of the 2024–2025 school year.
MCPS has begun replacing some of its internal combustion engine fleet vehicles with hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and electric vehicles. MCPS currently operates 13 hybrid compact sport utility vehicles (SUV), two plug-in hybrid SUVs, and four full electric cargo vans. One additional full electric cargo van is on order and is expected to be delivered in September, 2023.
In April, 2023 the first set of public electric vehicle charging stations for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was installed at the Carver Educational Service Center in Rockville, Maryland as part of a pilot program. The second project is currently under way at Gaithersburg Middle School and is projected to be operational in September, 2023. These stations are installed at no cost to MCPS through a partnership with one of our electric utility providers, Pepco, an Exelon Company. There are three ways to pay for using the chargers:
There are more than 500 charging plugs open to the public in Montgomery County, including 100 DC fast chargers. Twenty-two EV charging stations are available at public parking facilities in downtown Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. Maps of those locations are available from the Division of Parking Management. Local utilities have also installed charging stations at parks and other public facilities. Check the Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center or charging station location services such as Plugshare to find an EV charger near you.
If you would like to make a suggestion about where MCPS should place a charging station, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Division of Sustainability and Compliance (DSC) hosted a Sustainability Symposium on MCPS Electric School Bus Project in December 2022. Nearly 350 students and staff registered to attend the webinar to learn about MCPS's rollout of electric school buses and how this project helps to reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions. If you missed the event, click here to watch it.
For more information about the sustainability efforts at MCPS or to learn more about the use of EVs, please contact DSC via email (email@example.com) or call 240-314-1090.
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