Electric Bus Partners
The deployment of charging infrastructure for BEBs by transit agencies requires coordination with many of the same partners described above for light-duty EV chargers. Relationships and coordination with Tribal, State, and Federal agencies can provide access to information, resources, and funding to assist in the planning for and development of infrastructure. Local and Tribal Governments are a key partner to ensure that the installation of infrastructure follows local and Tribal laws and regulations.
Additionally, electric utilities are investing in transit and school bus electrification programs. Utilities are partnering with school districts to lower their electricity costs through smart charging programs or by financing upfront costs for charging infrastructure. As discussed above, early and continuous coordination with the utility is critical to ensure that the utility can meet the needs of the transit agency. Depending on the size of the infrastructure investment, the transit agency could be a large, new customer for the utility, which will require early planning on both sides. This early coordination can also allow the transit agency to discuss their infrastructure needs, existing or planned rate schedules, and opportunities to plan charging sessions to minimize costs. Transit agencies may also want to reach out to their local or Tribal Government agencies to discuss alternatives for electricity purchase or generation, such as on-site energy generation and storage, power purchase agreements, or community microgrids.
Partnerships Success Story: Low-Speed Electric Vehicles in Texas
As an alternative to BEBs, the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance has facilitated coordination among several stakeholders and project partners to bring low-speed electric shuttles to the rural community of Bastrop, Texas. Public transportation service Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) worked in partnership with a private, electric cab provider to provide this on-demand microtransit service. Additional partners include the City and County of Bastrop, as well as Wheels & Water and NREL that will help with data analysis and monitoring.
Other partners for transit agencies include bus manufacturers, which help agencies understand their vehicle options and infrastructure needs, and plan for each deployment. Labor unions are another key partner, as the usage of BEBs requires employees to take on new job tasks to test, operate, and maintain the buses. Early communication with these partners will help transit agencies address any concerns during the planning process and prior to implementation. Other sources of bus electrification support include the Zero Emission Bus Resource Alliance, a professional association for transit agencies that began in 2015 to bring together transit leaders to share information and research on zero emission buses, and the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative, which provides guides, tools, and other resources.