Step-by-Step Guide | October 17, 2022
Step 2.1: Conduct Facility Assessment


Prior to purchasing electric school buses and chargers, you should convene your core project team to conduct a facility assessment and discuss the placement of chargers and any potential necessary upgrades to electrical infrastructure on the electric utility and/or the customer side of the meter. Oftentimes, site constraints or the costs to upgrade or expand electrical infrastructure will essentially determine the scale of an initial electric school bus deployment. 

It is important to involve your electric utility representative and electricians in this stage. If you have multiple facilities where you park buses, you should carefully consider the tradeoffs and benefits to electrifying different sites, including infrastructure costs and potential impacts and benefits to neighboring communities.

For smaller deployments, you may consider if there is potential to install the initial chargers employing the existing electrical service to reduce time and cost. 

For those districts that are pursuing full fleet electrification, you should consider ways to future-proof your facility and phase upgrades efficiently, so that you don’t have to begin the planning process anew with each deployment. 

Things to do: 

  • Convene core team to discuss project scale and key considerations 
  • Do a facility walk-through with your electric utility and electrician to understand potential electrical upgrades and associated costs for current and future deployments 
  • Obtain a single line drawing of electrical service connection/entrance into your facility for your electric utility
  • Identify easement procedures and requirements of all the utilities at your site which often include electric, water, sewer, gas, telecommunications and internet  

Questions to consider: 

  • Where are the most promising locations to place chargers, in terms of cost effectiveness, operational safety and ease of deployment? 
  • Do you have additional unused capacity in your existing panel that could be accessed by above-ground connections and minimal infrastructure investments? 
  • Where would any supporting electrical infrastructure be installed (for example, ground-mounted transformers, power inverters, switchgear, meters, panels or subpanels)? 
  • What upgrades are likely needed to enable your facility to support the number of buses and types of chargers desired at this initial stage and in future stages? 
  • Could electrifying a particular depot help to improve air quality in a neighborhood with high levels of pollution? What other benefits can you drive through equitable site selection? 
  • Are there any significant safety considerations (such as student loading/unloading areas, fire zones or applicable regulations) that will impact where chargers can be installed? 
  • Will the parking arrangement need to be modified based on charger location and where the charging ports will be located on the buses? 
  • What support can electric utility staff offer moving forward, in terms of facility planning, electrical rate review, etc.? 
  • Is there adequate and safe lighting and do the parking stalls require Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance? 

Potential stakeholders: 

  • District transportation director 
  • District fleet manager 
  • District facilities manager 
  • District energy manager 
  • School bus contractor (if applicable) 
  • Electric utility representative 
  • Electrician 


  • All About Charging Infrastructure video series WRI's Electric School Bus Initiative This series of 2-3 minute videos takes you on-site at a bus depot in New York City to show firsthand the infrastructure needed to power electric school buses. 
  • Electric School Bus Facility Assessment Guide VEIC:  This toolkit contains printable worksheets that a school district can use to conduct a facility assessment. 
  • Interconnection Challenges and Solutions US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center: This 7-minute video explains the electrical infrastructure needed to power chargers and solutions to mitigate upgrade costs and manage peak demand charges.