Before you procure your buses, take some time to plan out your charging and operations needs.
Once you have developed your vision and roadmap for school bus electrification, it’s time to begin the planning process. If you are planning for a large deployment or for full fleet electrification, you should consider hiring an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm to lead the charging and operations planning.
Typically, school districts begin by conducting a facility assessment to determine the most viable locations for the charging infrastructure required to power electric school buses.
These locations may be determined by existing electrical infrastructure, the cost of potential upgrades and your operational patterns and needs – which may in turn determine the initial number of buses to be procured. From an equity perspective, it is important to also consider the impacts and benefits to surrounding neighborhoods when considering charging locations.
After your team has discussed the number of buses to procure, charger locations and site upgrades, you should develop detailed operations and infrastructure plans in consultation with district and community stakeholders to take your roadmap from vision to reality.
Electric school buses provide an opportunity to bring cleaner transportation to neighborhoods with air quality issues, so school districts should consider how to deploy buses in an equitable way that maximizes health and social benefits for disadvantaged communities. For example, districts could prioritize replacing the oldest fossil-fueled buses first or placing electric school buses on routes that serve underserved communities.
These plans should account for both current and future electric school bus deployments to ensure that districts are planning with sufficient capacity and flexibility in mind.