With the transition to electric vehicles becoming widely recognized as one of the most important initiatives to combat climate change, SCP sponsored a school bus electrification study for the Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD) and the West County Transportation Agency (WCTA), which provide transportation for hundreds of public-school students in our service territory.
Knowing that the switch to battery electric buses (BEBs) would not happen overnight, these studies were intended to serve as a roadmap forward for both agencies to understand the challenges and opportunities of electrifying their vehicle fleets, and what infrastructure upgrades would be needed in the future.
To conduct the study, SCP selected the Cadmus Group, LLC, an energy and environmental consulting firm with extensive transportation electrification experience.
The scope of the study involved assessing each bus yard’s suitability for electric vehicle (EV) charging, solar photovoltaic (PV) potential, current bus routes and fleet characteristics, existing infrastructure, utility distribution system capacity, ongoing priorities and constraints, and the impacts of weather throughout the year.
Each agency was given a report outlining short and long-term recommendations for achieving fleet electrification. Below are some of the key findings:
For the West County Transportation Agency -
For the Mendocino Unified School District -
A mutual recommendation for both agencies was to select routes with a maximum total daily mileage of 100 miles and at least four hours at the yard between morning and afternoon shifts for their first phase of electrification.
SCP is committed to facilitating WCTA’s and MUSD’s transition to BEBs and looks forward to serving as a resource for the two agencies. Both WCTA and MUSD plan to present these reports to their respective Boards for discussion and next steps early this year.
For more on school bus electrification efforts, check out the California Energy Commission’s School Bus Replacement Program or the Economics of Education Review’s article “School bus emissions, student health, and academic performance”.