III. ESTABLISH EV PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION GOALS

Zero-tailpipe electric buses provide safer public transportation by producing significantly fewer carbon emissions and reducing harmful air pollution in our communities. Electric buses have considerable savings maintenance and fuel costs, compared to combustion engine buses, even though their purchase price is higher. Additionally, the purchase price of electric buses is falling fast with advancements in battery technology. While electric transit and school buses have many similarities there are significant enough differences including how they are driven, price points and how they interact with the grid, that we are choosing to separate the two and address them individually.

A. Electric Transit Buses

Transit buses are typically driven year round and as such can significantly reduce both fuel costs (up to 75 percent because of their high fuel efficiency) and climate emissions. Every zero emission bus is able to eliminate 1,690 tons of CO2 over its lifespan. In our region, an electric bus provides CO2 emissions benefits similar to a diesel bus getting 11-15 MPG. For reference, the typical transit bus achieves 4.8 MPG. Lifetime costs to own are similar to a diesel bus when factoring fuel and maintenance savings over the lifespan of the bus. Federal cost-share funding for transit buses efficiently leverages local funding. Additionally, with proper planning, the fast charging stations used to charge buses can provide needed fast charging hubs to support EV drivers in case of storm evacuation. (See section VI. Incentivize EVs to Accelerate Economic Development). Working with your electrical utility provider is key to addressing charging infrastructure. 

 

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B. School Districts EVs, Charging, and Electric School Buses

The US school bus fleet is the nation's largest public transportation fleet, moving more than 25 million children on 480,000 buses each school day. One major benefit of electrifying our school buses is a significant reduction of childrens’ exposure to harmful pollutants in diesel exhaust from conventional buses. School buses have predictable schedules and large energy storage capacity opening up opportunities for partnerships with local utilities and making them ideal for electric “Vehicle to Grid” technology. Vehicle to Grid technology enables bus batteries to provide power to the electricity grid while not running, helping to offset demand during peak hours, and increasing resiliency by acting as a stored-energy source during an emergency. 

Additionally, school districts can electrify their light-duty vehicle fleet and provide charging in their parking lots.

 

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C. New and Emerging Shuttle Services with EVs

Many private transportation companies have developed creative electric solutions to address last-mile and local transportation goals. 

 

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D. Consult with Your Local Utility

Your local utility’s plan or policies may encourage and provide financial support for certain types of EVs and vehicle classes.

Examples: 

  • Orlando-LYNX-OUC-Proterra: With Orlando’s assistance, LYNX applied funding from a Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to purchase seven battery electric buses, which will be procured through Proterra Inc. Orlando Utilities Commission assisted in the procurement of charging stations and batteries to help LYNX successfully deploy the project.

  • West Palm Beach-FPL: Florida Power and Light and West Palm Beach partnered on Florida’s first electric school buses. The pilot will explore vehicle to grid technology using the bus batteries and provide data that will inform future applications.

 
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© 2021 Electrify the South is a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to accelerate the equitable transition to clean energy-powered electric transportation throughout the Southeast.