Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Cost Factors: Module 5 (Text Version)
This is a text version of the video for Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses: Cost Factors: Module 5.
Welcome to Part 8 of the series Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses, where we will discuss Electric School Bus Cost Factors. Part 8 of the Flipping the Switch series, Electric School Bus Cost Factors, consists of five modules. Module 1 provided information on bus capital costs and infrastructure costs. Module 2 discussed electric school bus operational costs. Module 3 discussed electric school bus maintenance costs. Module 4 reviewed electric school bus incentives and financing options, and finally Module 5, which we are discussing today, will provide information on how to have these financing discussions.
Now let's get started with Module 5 of Electric School Bus Cost Factors, Financing Discussions. The electric school bus decision-making process will involve multiple steps depending upon the hierarchy of your organization. The transportation director will be instrumental in a successful EV school bus deployment program. Directors manage all the facets of the transportation department. Employees will rely upon them for direction and understanding. It is important to have a champion, someone who fully supports the program and has a strong desire for success. This many times will be the transportation director or the fleet manager. They will then take the program through the entire process. It is important to get everyone involved though, so that they are aware of the purchase decision, not just from a bus purchase standpoint, but how these vehicles will be used daily. Work with the scheduling and dispatch. They can help give guidance on which routes might be best. Their buy-in into the process will be quite helpful.
And finally the school board will be asked many questions by the community. Ensure that they understand your plans moving forward. They might also be involved in the bus purchase approval process, as this can have a significant impact on the fleet for many years to come.
To prepare for financing discussions the fleet managers should do their due diligence and understand all facets of a school bus electrification process. They will be thought of as the person to come to for answers. Depending upon your responsibility within your organization there will be different questions asked of you related to a school bus electrification effort.
For example, the superintendent will ask different questions than your director will. The fleet manager will have different questions than either of these as their everyday responsibilities will be different. Being well-rounded will be important, so learn as much as you can. It will be beneficial for you long-term. Understand your vehicle options. Research the range required for your given route situation. Talk to your facilities folks. Make sure that they understand your requirements and how they will be involved. Talk with your staff early and often. Ensure that they know that they are part of the process. Keeping them involved will only strengthen your program. Encourage your staff to ask questions. Understand that this is a learning process for everyone.
The first question that may be asked during the financial discussions is how much is an electric school bus going to cost compared to a conventional bus? To answer that question come prepared to explain that because electric school buses are still a new technology, they will have a higher upfront capital cost than their traditional counterparts. However, industry consensus is that electric school buses have major benefits when it comes to the reduction of maintenance and fuel costs when compared to a conventional school bus. Manufacturers currently predict maintenance cost could be up to 85% less than a traditional bus, though more data is needed to quantify these results in real-world service.
To offset high upfront costs there may be grants or incentives available, so it is fundamentally important to research and understand what might be available for your district. Charging of these buses will also need to be considered. Understand these costs so that when the questions arise you are fully prepared. All of these key topics, bus cost, operational maintenance cost, incentives, and financing options are discussed in the previous modules of Part 8, and throughout the entire Flipping the Switch series. Review previous modules for more in-depth information.
Some key takeaways from the financing discussions to consider. Remember that electric school bus decision-making process involves multiple steps. Depending upon the hierarchy of your organization the transportation director will be instrumental in a successful EV bus deployment. The school board, superintendent, fleet manager, scheduling, and dispatch will all have key roles in the process.
It is important to have a champion. Someone who fully supports the program and has a strong desire for its success. This many times will be the transportation director or the fleet manager. They will then take the program through the entire process. Remember that you are the expert. Come prepared to answer key questions and understand the entire process. Review past parts of the modules of Flipping the Switch on Electric School Bus series for all the topics to consider.
Thank you for listening. That concludes Module 5 of Part 8 of the series, Flipping the Switch, Electric School Bus Cost Factors. This concludes all modules of Part 8 of this series.
That concludes all parts of Flipping the Switch series. In this series you've learned about electric school bus basics, working with your electric utilities, vehicle requirements, charging infrastructure, infrastructure planning and solutions, in-use performance, training for both vehicle drivers and technicians, and finally cost factors. As a reminder you can find all the content for Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses, including each part of the series and associated modules, as well as the handouts with a summary of information and links to all the resources mentioned today on the Alternative Fuels Data Center's Electric School Bus page.