Last week we talked about districts buying electric buses. This week we have a list of tips for going electric.
- Don’t let infrastructure stall your project – start the process of charger installation in tandem with purchase.
- Assess your needs – most operators will find that AC charging is sufficient to fully recharge their buses overnight.
- Consult with the OEM on which EVSE is ideal – EVSEs provide two-way communication between the charger and vehicle to determine state of charge and how much power to transfer, and some EVSE brands tend to be more compatible than others.
- Don’t “over-upgrade” electrical service without proper consultation. Pulling more power than is needed to charge vehicles can actually increase the electrical cost for an entire facility dramatically, due to what are known as “demand charges” which can push all utility costs into a higher tier.
- Consider installing EV charging stations on a separate utility meter from the facility itself. This can allow qualification for special EV charging rates provided by many utilities and also makes it easy to track charging costs by monitoring a dedicated meter.
- Know your electricity rates. Time-of-use rates exist in many markets which disincentivize electricity use in the evenings, meaning overnight charging is often more affordable.
- Use available software to schedule charging for times when the cost is lowest. For example, Lion buses have a built-in software feature that allows you to schedule charging in certain time windows, even if the bus is plugged in continuously.
Electrification might sound daunting at first, but by owning their own infrastructure, school bus operators stand to benefit by lowering costs and simplifying daily operations.
Once the right pieces are in place fleet operators benefit from cleaner fleets, lower costs and, most importantly, healthier kids. After all, no one likes buying gas – and as a bonus, plugging in is cheaper.