In March 2014, Foothill Transit, located in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, began operation of 12 electric buses within their fleet of clean natural gas (CNG) buses. In collaboration with California Air Research Board (CARB) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the agency performed an evaluation of the electric buses. NREL provided a third-party evaluation of the battery electric buses compared to the CNG buses in operation between April 2014 and December 2016. This report reports the results from August 2015 to December 2016.
- Examine Route Options. Short-range, on-route-charged buses are inflexible and cannot be deployed at other service routes that do not connect to an on-route charging location.
- Conduct Route Analysis. Review potential routes and consider the ones that best fit how battery electric buses operate based on driving range, duty cycle, and charging opportunities. An agency could benefit from conducting a route analysis and simulating how the battery electric buses would meet the range requirements.
- Consider Route Adjustments. Adjust route schedules to accommodate battery electric buses charging time; this is part of the transition from conventional technology buses to electric buses. An agency may need to add deadhead miles prior to the start of the route depending on the location of the in-route charging station and availability of an in-depot charger.
- Anticipate Weather Impacts. The higher use of air conditioning lowers the effective range in hotter months; Foothill Transit adjusts its summer schedule to account for more charging time.
- Avoid Downtime for Charger Unavailability. Charger availability is important for successful deployment. Foothill Transit installed two charger heads at its charging station to avoid downtime for charger unavailability
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