Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Vehicle In Use Performance: Module 1 (Text Version)
This is a text version of the video for Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Vehicle In Use Performance: Module 1.
Abby Brown: Welcome to Part 6 of the Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses series, where we will discuss electric school bus vehicle in-use performance.
Lauren Lynch: If you've been following along with the Flipping the Switch series you've already learned about electric school buses and how to work with your utility, as well as vehicle requirements and charging infrastructure. So today I'll be discussing electric school bus vehicle in-use performance. Next in the series is training, which will include both drivers and technicians, and finally we'll have cost factors.
Electric school bus vehicle in-use performance consists of three modules, and you're stuck with me today for all three of them. So Module 1, which is the module I'm going to talk about first, provides information on how to track electric school bus performance and why it is important to do so. In Module 2, I will discuss electric school bus energy use and fuel economy, and finally Module 3, I'll provide information on electric school bus range and reliability.
So let's dive into Module 1 of the Electric School Bus Vehicle In-Use Performance, Tracking Performance. Like with all technologies it is important to understand the performance to ensure it's the best fit for the job. So in order to do so there are generally some key performance indicators that are tracked to maintain confidence in the technology or identify areas of opportunity that should be addressed.
When evaluating battery electric school buses these key performance indicators will also help in understanding how the buses are operated and what can be leveraged for control and cost. The key performance indicators that we generally track for electric transit buses that are also applicable to electric school buses are energy use and fuel economy, range in relation to efficiency of a single charge cycle, and the reliability of the bus. So these factors have all been found to be the greatest areas of cost and opportunity to track and control when in use. So tracking these key performance indicators will help as you transition into this new technology.
Deployments of electric buses need to plan for tracking performance of the buses and the charging infrastructure. Many OEMs actually offer telematics on the buses and charging systems, so you can use those data to help track the indicators that I mentioned on the previous slide. And another option is to employ a third-party company to install data loggers on the buses and chargers if you don't have access to those data.
Telematics software enables the tracking of fleet management in real time, it also assists in vehicle fault detection and the diagnostics of those faults, as well as provides data to identify areas of opportunity that need to be addressed such as optimal battery use and managing charging to minimize overall cost.
So although we do have more and more electric school buses being deployed in the United States, there currently is very little performance results that have been made available just due to lack of data as well. So NREL has tracked the performance of battery electric buses in transit since 2014, and this data can help inform school districts to better understand how the battery electric bus technology might perform in a school bus application.
And as more municipalities have started to deploy electric school buses, we continue to work with fleet managers for opportunities to gather data and others in industry are doing the same as well. So you should be seeing more and more availability, lessons learned, some case studies using school bus performance data.
So that would be helpful in tracking your key performance indicators in order to help demonstrate how the buses are operated and understand where you might be able to leverage and control some of those costs. The telematics data can be used to track some of those key performance indicators, both of buses and then there are some for charging infrastructure as well. And then just remember that with emerging technology it also means that there will be emerging data. So just be mindful and kind of keep an eye out for any performance data or update you may see in case studies or lessons learned, or even peer-to-peer learning.
So thanks for listening. That does conclude Module 1 of the Flipping the Switch series, Electric School Bus Vehicle In-Use Performance. To complete the modules of this series please continue to listen on to Modules 2 and 3 where I will discuss electric school bus energy use and fuel economy and provide information on range and reliability.
And remember, you can find all of this content for the Flipping the Switch on Electric School Bus series including each part of the series and associated modules, as well as handouts and a summary of information with links to all the resources mentioned today on the Alternative Fuel Data Center's Electric School Bus page.