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Public Transit
May 08, 2024

CIB to lend Highland Electric up to $50 million to expand electric school bus fleet in Canada

Leased zero-emission buses to save approximately 5,500 tonnes of carbon emissions
  • Highland Electric Fleets (Canada) ULC, to be the first CIB-funded company to lease electric buses to school transportation providers and school boards across the country.
  • Hundreds of electric school buses are estimated to save approximately 5,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
  • Zero-emission buses are a proven, low-carbon transit solution, produce near-zero tailpipe emissions and require less maintenance than traditional diesel vehicles.

TORONTO – The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has reached financial close on a loan facility with Highland Electric Fleets (Canada) ULC worth up to $50 million to help finance the purchase of hundreds of zero-emission school buses (ZEBs).

Highland Electric will use the CIB loan facility to expand its Canadian business. The electric school buses will be leased – under Highland Electric’s innovative turnkey model – to school transportation providers and school boards to replace their aging diesel vehicles.

The facility would provide financing at a level of $85,000 for each Type A ZEB, $100,000 for each Type C, and Type D is to be mutually agreed upon. At these loan amounts, the facility could help finance the purchase of up to about 500 ZEBs and save approximately 5,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The CIB’s loan will cover the higher upfront capital costs of ZEBs, helping to accelerate the electrification of the bus fleets. ZEBs are a proven, much quieter and more sustainable transportation option for students. Repayment of the investment will come from expected reduced maintenance and fuel costs over the life of the vehicles.

The CIB loans under the facility will work in conjunction with Infrastructure Canada’s funding for zero-emission transit. Highland Electric will be responsible for the procurement of ZEBs, design and installation of charging infrastructure, and charge management. Operators will be responsible for performing maintenance and driving the ZEBs.

The CIB’s Zero-emission Bus Initiative assists transit agencies and school bus operators to transition their fleets to modern, environmentally friendly vehicles. The CIB has committed more than $1.5 billion towards up to 5,000 ZEBs.

Partnering with Highland Electric supports greener and more sustainable transportation options for students, parents and school staff for generations to come. The adoption Highland Electric’s turnkey leasing program is a unique and alternative way for school boards and operators to implement zero-emission vehicles within their service areas without the need to acquire the buses themselves.

- Ehren Cory, Chief Executive Officer, Canada Infrastructure Bank

Investing in zero-emission transit is critical to tackle greenhouse emissions in Canada and to meet our net zero goals. We are incredibly proud that the CIB’s partnership with Highland Electric will help do just that by providing hundreds of electric school buses across the country.

- Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities

At Highland, our goal is to make school bus electrification as simple and affordable as possible, so more students can enjoy a cleaner and healthier ride to school. Through our partnership with the CIB, we look forward to working with school districts throughout Canada to transform the future of school bus transportation.

- Gaurav Dubey, CFO, Highland Electric Fleets

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