Third Party Transportation-as-a-Service
Electric School Bus Leasing
There are many ways to transition to an electric school bus fleet, and it is not necessary for a district to own their vehicles or EVSE outright. Leasing equipment from a TaaS company is one way to avoid upfront costs of transportation electrification. Districts have options to lease entire vehicles or lease the battery while owning the rest of the vehicle
Because of the complexity of smart charging and VGI, many districts are opting to utilize Charging-as-a-Service or Electrification-as-a-Service companies. These firms can provide turn-key for electric bus fleets including: procurement and provision of vehicles; design, procurement, and installation of charging and electricity infrastructure; telematics, charge management, and smart-charging capabilities; financing, maintenance, and training; and operational management.
Advantages of the as-a-service model include enhanced risk management, cost predictability, optimization of utility cost through smart charging, and simplification of the charging infrastructure planning and deployment process. If engaging with a third-party provider, districts would also be able to leverage cheaper rates resulting from large volume purchasing.
School bus operators typically have very positive reactions to driving electric school buses over time; they are quieter than their diesel counterparts and often provide a smoother ride due to lower center of gravity and consistent distribution of weight across the bus. Electric fleets typically also require substantially less maintenance than their ICE counterparts, as there are substantially fewer moving parts. Many electric school bus OEMs have training services available for both drivers and maintenance techs.
Lion: Offers multiple training programs for maintenance workers and drivers. (Link)
Bluebird: Offers virtual ride and drive experiences with engineers, providing best practice tips for operators and sharing relevant performance specifications. (Link)
Thomas Built: Offers technician training through the Thomas Built Institute. Participants receive hands-on training and up to 28 credit hours on a broad array of O&M issues. (Link)
Navistar International: Hosts annual training summit at manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Event historically includes training on electrical systems and connection systems, although typically is geared towards maintenance on fossil fuel buses