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.
Interested districts can also elect to lease equipment from these as-a-service companies.
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.
Electric fleets typically require substantially less maintenance than their ICE counterparts, as there are fewer moving parts. Many electric school bus OEMs have training services available for both drivers and maintenance techs.
Bluebird: Offers virtual ride and drive experiences with engineers, providing best practice tips for operators and sharing relevant performance specifications. (Link)
Highland Electric: Provides turnkey electric school bus solutions that can create cost effective access to electrification for school districts. (Link)
Lion: Offers multiple training programs for maintenance workers and drivers. (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)