5 Things to Consider When Shopping for an Electric School Bus

Have you heard reports about legislation encouraging the switch to electric buses? Are you concerned your school may be behind? Maybe you’re not sure where to start when considering the switch to an electric bus.

Given that school buses are the largest form of public transportation in the United States, we understand this is a big decision. Every day, 480,000 buses carry nearly half of America’s children to and from school. The switch to electric buses has many potential benefits, although it is a significant investment. Electric school buses are easier to maintain, cleaner, and healthier for the planet.

However, before you buy your first bus or fleet, we would recommend you ask yourself these five questions: 

  1. How long are your routes?
    Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley® electric bus currently has a range of 135 miles per charge. This mileage is sufficient for many NC sc hool districts; however, if your routes are more rural, electric buses may not be the best option for you right now.
  2. How much funding is available?
    We understand this is a significant investment for your school, which is why we suggest checking to see if your district has funds for an electric bus pilot program. You can check available grants and incentives right here!
  3. What infrastructure changes do you need to make?
    Depending on the size of the fleet you envision, you will need to map out the system requirements and specifications to design the infrastructure adequately. It’s essential to have the support you need from an experienced partner who understands the unique makeup of your EV bus(es). 
  4. Have you talked to the power company?
    With the push from government officials to go electric, many power companies are already thinking of where, when, how, and what kind of electric supply you will need. For your school, obtaining buy-in from key contacts at your power company will ensure you have the energy supply and transformer you need to run your EV fleet. 
  5. How will you update your infrastructure, and is it feasible?
    Do you have the infrastructure to operate one school bus or an entire fleet? Do you have an electrical contractor to install your charging station and connected infrastructure? You will need an experienced professional who has done this before — mistakes can be costly and dangerous, so having the right person for the job is paramount.

We understand you may have more questions than answers.  Call one of our EV Deployment Team members to help guide you through these steps today!