5 Key Steps When Building Your Electric School Bus Fleet

From an initial pilot program to a complete fleet conversion, following these best practices will ensure a smooth ride on your sustainability journey.

(3-minute read)

Building an electric school bus fleet involves several critical steps to ensure efficiency, safety, and environmental impact. AEP Energy recently brought together school administrators and transportation directors for thought provoking panel discussion on Electric School Bus fleet conversion. To watch a recording of the free webinar, CLICK HERE.  Or read below to find out the five key steps to consider when electrifying your school bus fleet:

  1. Understand Route and Energy Needs:
    • Begin by assessing your existing bus routes and energy requirements. Understand the power demands for the desired routes based on energy consumption.
    • Utilize in-use vehicle performance data to analyze factors such as fuel economy, energy use, and miles traveled. This information will guide your choice of electric school bus models that align with your fleet needs.
  2. Select Preferred Charging Strategies:
    • Determine the most suitable charging strategies for your fleet. Consider factors like charging station locations, charging speed, and compatibility with existing infrastructure.
    • Explore options such as depot charging, opportunity charging, or a combination of both. Each strategy has its advantages and trade-offs, so choose wisely based on your operational requirements.
  3. Identify Infrastructure Requirements:
    • Plan your charging infrastructure carefully. Assess the number of electric school buses you intend to add to your fleet and estimate the energy requirements to support them.
    • Collaborate with your electric utility to understand potential impacts on existing facilities and electrical systems. Ensure that your infrastructure can handle the increased energy demand.
  4. Mitigate Cold Weather Range Impact:
    • Cold weather significantly affects the range of electric buses. As temperatures drop, energy is diverted from high-voltage batteries to maintain cabin temperature and battery system temperature.
    • Implement best practices to mitigate range reduction caused by cold weather. For instance, consider pre-conditioning the buses while plugged in to minimize energy consumption during operation.
  5. Look for Partner with Turn-Key Solutions Like AEP Energy:
  • While the initial capital costs for electric buses and charging infrastructure may seem daunting relying on an energy partner that gives you sustainable solutions and options.
  • A partner like AEP Energy offers investment capital to purchase buses, valuation and optimization of bus routes, location feasibility and economic viability studies, and cost optimization strategies.

Electrifying your school bus fleet will not only give you long-term savings, but will bring air quality, climate, and grid resiliency benefits to communities. AEP Energy is ready to help you create a healthier, greener, more sustainable environment for your students! Click here for more information.


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