Electric school bus with Canadian flag background.

Highland Electric aims to use the CIB loan facility to strengthen its operations within Canada. The electric school buses, operated under Highland Electric's turnkey model, will be leased to school transportation providers and boards as replacements for aging diesel vehicles.

Source: Canva/Canada Infrastructure Bank

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has finalized a loan facility agreement with Highland Electric Fleets (Canada) ULC valued at up to $50 million to support the financing of numerous zero-emission school buses.

Highland Electric aims to use the CIB loan facility to strengthen its operations within Canada. The electric school buses, operated under Highland Electric's turnkey model, will be leased to school transportation providers and boards as replacements for aging diesel vehicles.

Highland Electric marks the first CIB-funded entity to lease ZEBs for school transportation nationwide in Canada.

"At Highland, our objective is to simplify and make school bus electrification as economical as possible, enabling more students to experience a cleaner and healthier commute to school,” said Gaurav Dubey, CFO for Highland Electric Fleets. “Through our partnership with the CIB, we eagerly anticipate collaborating with school districts throughout Canada to redefine the future of school bus transportation."

The financing structure will allocate $85,000 for each Type A ZEB, $100,000 for each Type C, and the terms for Type D will be mutually determined. With these loan amounts, the facility could enable the acquisition of approximately 500 ZEBs and mitigate around 5,500 tons of carbon emissions annually.

The CIB's loan aims to offset the initial capital expenses of ZEBs, expediting the transition to electrified bus fleets. ZEBs, proven to be significantly quieter and more sustainable, offer a preferable mode of transportation for students. Repayment of the investment is anticipated through reduced maintenance and fuel costs over the vehicles' lifespan.

The CIB loans under this facility will complement Infrastructure Canada's funding for zero-emission transit. Highland Electric will oversee ZEB procurement, charging infrastructure design and installation, and charge management. Maintenance and operation of the ZEBs will be the responsibility of operators.

"Partnering with Highland Electric supports greener and more sustainable transportation options for students, parents, and school staff for generations to come,” said Ehren Cory, CEO of Canada Infrastructure Bank. “The adoption of Highland Electric's turnkey leasing program offers a unique and alternative approach for school boards and operators to integrate zero-emission vehicles into their service areas without the need for direct bus acquisitions."

The CIB's Zero-emission Bus Initiative is committed to assisting transit agencies and school bus operators in modernizing their fleets with environmentally friendly vehicles. The CIB has pledged over $1.5 billion toward the acquisition of up to 5,000 ZEBs.

"Investing in zero-emission transit is crucial to combating greenhouse emissions in Canada and achieving our net-zero objectives,” said Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities. “We are immensely proud that the CIB's collaboration with Highland Electric will facilitate the provision of hundreds of electric school buses across the country."

Originally posted on School Bus Fleet

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