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td083
Senior Member

192 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  05:49:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit td083's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just curious if anyone here has any electric school buses in their fleet or knows of any districts that do ? Wondering on reliability , how they are to work on etc .. From what ive read they're about 120k more than a diesel although I would imagine over the long run a possible savings ?I think the next couple years we may be getting some , interested to hear some input , thanks all .

RonF
Top Member

843 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  12:25:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would like to see some hard data on the savings on having an electric bus. I just can't in my mind see it.

US Army retired CMBT
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ACL
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  1:00:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thomas says, "On average, an electric school bus could save schools nearly $2,000 a year in fuel and $4,400 a year in maintenance costs." Context here: https://thomasbuiltbuses.com/bus-advisor/articles/common-drawbacks-of-electric-school-buses

Now some of that savings is offset by the annual cost of the additional purchase price, but there may be financial incentives in the mix as well. It will probably vary a lot state to state. The numbers they give make it a pretty hard sell without incentives.

Overall, though, I think buses are a good fit for battery power. Lots of opportunity for regen.

Edited by - ACL on 01/17/2020 1:00:56 PM
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Sherm
Top Member

USA
616 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  1:14:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't see a good return on investment yet on electric. Since I'm buying buses with taxpayer money, it needs to make financial sense. If some entity wants to buy one for my district to test out, I'd be more inclined to consider putting it in the fleet for further study.

Also...where will all of these batteries go when they are no longer needed? Does that disposal of toxic waste make environmental sense? If we're all driving electric vehicles, how many more polluting power plants will we need? How will an already fragile infrastructure handle everyone plugging in vehicles?

Still too many electric questions for me. I'll stick with propane for now; that seems to be the sweet spot between being good stewards of taxpayer money and good stewards of the environment.
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dferrell
Senior Member

102 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  1:54:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We live in a rural area with a decent amount of hills. One of the manufacturers brought out their latest and greatest bus to demo at the neighboring school district. They weren't able to make it up the hill out of town. They had to stop and back all the way down the hill. No thanks. In my opinion, the technology just isn't there yet. Especially for the cost.
Out here in California, we keep our buses for close to 30 years. I'm guessing the batteries would have to be replaced at least twice during the life of the bus at a massive cost. From what I have heard, a brand new diesel bus can be bought for less than the cost of batteries.
I really only see them working reliably in a flat, urban area.
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ACL
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2020 :  2:32:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not making it up the first big hill sounds like a sales/application failure. I can't imagine that a manufacturer doesn't have an engineering staff that can predict the acceptable operational parameters for the bus. EVs work well in certain situations and not well in certain other ones.
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RonF
Top Member

843 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  04:24:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My question is, what is the increase in the electric bill to charge the buses? $$

US Army retired CMBT
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ACL
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  05:16:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"what is the increase in the electric bill to charge the buses?"
TBB says up to 220kWH battery size. I think school districts will get very low electric rates for this, given that they are schools, that this is EV charging, and that there is V2G. When you know your depth of discharge, your electric rate, and the number of buses you charge you can calculate the cost for your situation.

"How will an already fragile infrastructure handle everyone plugging in vehicles?"
Everyone plugging in vehicles is decades away and our infrastucture has always grown to roughly meet demands. Maybe there's some lag, but until your utility says they can't give you power to charge your buses this isn't an actual issue. Expecting today's infrastructure to power the next decade's demands is a straw man argument. 1950s infrastructure never had to meet 1980s demands.

I'm seeing the same worn-out stuff posted here that I see in other anti-EV discussions. Spend some time driving one, get a better idea of what they do and don't do well, discuss it knowledgeably.
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krmvcs
Advanced Member

361 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  09:54:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I went to see the production facility for Proterra a couple months ago. It was cool to see and to answer the "what do you do with the battery after its done in the bus?" As long as it isnt totally shot, they say that after the batteries useful life is over in the vehicle it can be re-purposed for energy storage on a solar setup. Kinda cool.

-Ken-
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40ngone
Senior Member

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  10:40:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From dferrell: “We live in a rural area with a decent amount of hills. One of the manufacturers brought out their latest and greatest bus to demo at the neighboring school district. They weren't able to make it up the hill out of town. They had to stop and back all the way down the hill. No thanks. “

Dferrell, that scenario happened at my location. It either happened multiple times, or you are close to my district.

Edited by - 40ngone on 01/21/2020 10:43:29 AM
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ACL
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  11:01:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Either of you know what bus that one was? Looks like there are quite a few players already in the game: TBB, Blue Bird, Lion, and IC at least.

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bwest
Administrator

United States
3820 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  11:36:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ACL

Either of you know what bus that one was? Looks like there are quite a few players already in the game: TBB, Blue Bird, Lion, and IC at least.





Cummins is in it too. Of course, I'm sure it's just the drive train.

Bryan
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Sherm
Top Member

USA
616 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  12:10:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not anti-electric vehicle. I'm just not jumping in anyone's boat until I'm sure it won't sink. As I said...if some entity wants to provide me with one to test out, I'm all in. But I'm not playing a game of smoke and mirrors with taxpayer money ("incentives.")

My concerns about infrastructure are valid. Just look at California. And as a facilities director in addition to transportation director, I can guarantee that rising electricity rates are a huge concern with flat or shrinking budgets. Utilities hit us with demand response penalties now that set your rates for the next two years.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
3820 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  12:42:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sherm

I'm not anti-electric vehicle. I'm just not jumping in anyone's boat until I'm sure it won't sink. As I said...if some entity wants to provide me with one to test out, I'm all in. But I'm not playing a game of smoke and mirrors with taxpayer money ("incentives.")

My concerns about infrastructure are valid. Just look at California. And as a facilities director in addition to transportation director, I can guarantee that rising electricity rates are a huge concern with flat or shrinking budgets. Utilities hit us with demand response penalties now that set your rates for the next two years.



In my opinion, all valid concerns. I was an early adopter of propane. It has worked well for us. I can see a place for electric if it pays for itself. Without subsidies, I don't see it. With gasoline coming on, propane is borderline.

Bryan
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ACL
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2020 :  1:49:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Utilities hit us with demand response penalties now that set your rates for the next two years."

Do you have the same utility that is pushing electric buses for V2G out there, or someone else? Here, the PoCo is behind the push because it helps them. I can't see them dumping money into electric buses and then penalizing the actual charging process. The PoCo wants the buses connected and in a charged state, and they're spending money to achieve that.

A few nearby school districts are getting those buses soon. I hope to get some info on how they are working out.
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RonF
Top Member

843 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2020 :  05:47:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ACL

"Utilities hit us with demand response penalties now that set your rates for the next two years."

Do you have the same utility that is pushing electric buses for V2G out there, or someone else? Here, the PoCo is behind the push because it helps them. I can't see them dumping money into electric buses and then penalizing the actual charging process. The PoCo wants the buses connected and in a charged state, and they're spending money to achieve that.

A few nearby school districts are getting those buses soon. I hope to get some info on how they are working out.




This is one of the answers I'm waiting on. How much does each cost to charge each bus each time. I have no idea what our districts electricity bill per month is but we have 14 school building, building a new high school for 3500 students,two transportation complexes, building a new one, 4 times the size I have now and a board office. We could not do electric here at this facility because we are at capacity in our electric box now.

Again the answer I have been looking for is how much in dollars and cents does it cost to charge each bus. That way we can compare it to fueling costs.

US Army retired CMBT
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