The Top Six Electric Bus Considerations to Start Now

September 14th, 2023

This article was written by Christopher Wojciechowski, Director of Transportation Advisory Services

As states across the country are implementing electric school bus mandates new challenges and opportunities have arisen for districts in the planning stages. These new mandates have left school districts scrambling to comprehend the myriad of infrastructure and operational issues that must be addressed as the transition to a zero-emission fleet is contemplated.

Areas of particular focus include the following: cost (bus/fuel/electricity); route length/range; battery considerations; charger selection; recharge time; infrastructure design/installation; managed or unmanaged charging; utility provider offerings; operational layout; maintenance; and safety. Below are several items that must be considered; the largest barriers for a district transitioning to electric vehicles are cost and complexity.

1. Financial

  • Funding
  • Bonding
  • Lease vs. purchasing
  • Rebates
  • Replacement program
  • State aid

2. Infrastructure

  • Operational layout
  • Substation location
  • Utility upgrade
  • Safety upgrades
  • Training of emergency personnel

3. Equipment

  • Buses
  • Chargers
  • Batteries
  • Software

4. Staffing & Training

  • Driver training
  • Maintenance training

5. Operations

  • Route analysis
  • KPIs
  • Implementation
  • Charging operations

6. Contracts

  • Implementation
  • Updated specifications
  • Ownership over equipment
  • Higher costs

How We Can Help You

Our Transportation Advisory Services team can offer you a roadmap and evaluation of the current environment of electrification. We can help guide you on your journey to completely electrify your fleet. The process will be broken down into several stages with a timeline and goals for completion at each stage. Below is an example of how the process could potentially go:

First 1-3 Years:

  • Planning and layout of facility (12-18 months)
  • Charger requirements (3-9 months)
  • Routing analysis (3-9 months)
  • Battery selection (6-18 months)
  • Funding requests and planning (12-36 months)
  • Utility coordination (18-42 months)

Years 4-6:

  • Acquiring new buses (12-24 months)
  • Installation of first set of chargers (12-24 months)
  • Troubleshooting and evolving processes (12-48 months)
  • Payment modeling (24-96 months)

If you need further guidance or have any questions on this topic, we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to discuss your specific situation.

This material has been prepared for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Should you require any such advice, please contact us directly. The information contained herein does not create, and your review or use of the information does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship.

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