Step-by-Step Guide | October 17, 2022
Step 3.3: Upgrade Facilities and Install Electrical Infrastructure


Once you’ve selected your chargers and locations, you will likely need to upgrade your facility to accommodate new electrical infrastructure and/or parking and operations patterns. Involving your facilities manager, fleet manager and electric utility from the beginning can help to avoid roadblocks in this stage.

Facility upgrades could also include any additional energy efficiency upgrades or supporting clean energy projects, such as the installation of solar canopies to power your buses and facilities. Depending on the requirements for your site(s), your district may require additional procurement processes for construction and facility upgrades, in which case you could consider hiring a Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) or contractor that provides apprenticeship opportunities for underrepresented trade workers.

Throughout the process, school districts should carefully consider intended and unintended impacts on surrounding communities and any community benefits that could be supported through an upgraded facility.

Preparing now for your future electric bus fleet growth is essential to avoiding duplicative construction and infrastructure costs. For example, concrete can be installed in removable blocks that can be lifted out with a forklift, while electric vehicle supply dispensers can be installed on metal plates to make them more readily interchangeable. You could also run additional conduit and increase panel capacity now and wait to purchase the chargers needed when the buses arrive.

Things to do:

  • Evaluate the need for upgraded electrical infrastructure on both the electric utility (line) side and the site owner (load) side of the electric service meter
  • Discuss ways to minimize upgrade costs through incentives, rebates, charger selection and phased deployment up through the next five years
  • Determine whether a procurement process will be needed for facility upgrades, and run it if necessary
  • Obtain needed permits from local building authorities
  • Complete necessary site construction and facility upgrades in compliance with local codes
  • Install chargers

Questions to consider:

  • Where will the chargers be located? Is the charging area close to available power panels or the electric utility service connection?
  • Will you be utilizing existing electrical infrastructure, or will new service be required?
  • Do you need to run a procurement process for planning and/or construction?
  • Does the electric utility offer any relevant incentives or rebates for EV chargers, customer-side infrastructure (e.g., make-ready infrastructure), customer line extension or service allowances?
  • Is there an opportunity to use equity criteria to select contractors for needed construction or electrical work? 

Potential stakeholders:

  • District transportation director
  • District fleet manager
  • District facilities manager
  • District energy manager
  • Electric utility representative
  • Electrician 
  • School bus contractor (if applicable)
  • Community organizations, including environmental organizations, environmental justice organizations and organizations that serve the populations around bus depot locations