The Ins and Outs of Installing EV Charging Infrastructure at Your Schools

Switching from diesel-powered school buses to electric-powered school buses across your district can seem daunting. At Blue Bird, we want to help streamline each leg of the transition

Switching from diesel-powered school buses to electric-powered school buses across your district can seem daunting. There are several essential factors to consider, plans to implement, and costs to cover throughout the electrification process.

At Blue Bird, we want to help streamline each leg of the transition. Through our partnership with InCharge Energy, the industry’s leading provider of turnkey fleet EV charging solutions, Blue Bird can accelerate the electrification process of your facility so your drivers, students, and communities can begin benefiting from the shift.

Steps for Installing EV Charging Infrastructure

When you rely on Blue Bird to transition from diesel-powered buses to high-performance electric buses, you can expect a thorough EV infrastructure installation process.

Step 1. Site Assessment

To begin the process, an experienced infrastructure specialist will visit your location to conduct a site assessment. This is a critical step in determining the best charging solution for your unique operation.

During the assessment, our representative will complete several stages of analysis, including:

Site Walk at Your Bus Lot

All school bus facilities are different. They typically vary in how and where buses are parked, as well as the electrical power capacity and location of transformers and switchgear. Bus routes and duty cycles can be very different as well. For this reason, a site walk and route analysis are performed to properly understand the best charging solution and determine if power upgrades will be required.

The route analysis will be developed considering several factors, including route lengths, bus dwell times, climate, and terrain to determine if Level 2 or DC fast chargers – or some combination of these solutions – are the best fit.

If the school district is considering adding EV buses in the future, we will also incorporate cost-saving, future-proofing solutions into the infrastructure plan.  

Analysis of Your Electric Bills

We will also review historical electric bills for your facility as part of our assessment. If your electrical bills show that you are only using a portion of your dedicated capacity, as indicated by your circuit breaker ratings, even during periods of high usage, you might be able to accommodate more infrastructure without upgrading your service. If additional capacity is needed, your utility company will be contacted to determine costs and timing of needed upgrades.

Installation Survey

Once we thoroughly understand your bus lot’s layout, electric capacity, and electric use, we can create a strategic installation plan. Our representative will seek a combination of the best locations for charging equipment and the most economical installation options.

Step 2. Proposal

Following the site assessment, you will be provided a proposal that covers all equipment and installation expenses. You may choose between complete turnkey installation, where we install your infrastructure entirely, or final bolt down if you prefer to rely on your own construction crew for installation.

Step 3. Installation

We will proceed with the selected installation process.

Turnkey Installation

A full turnkey installation allows our team to complete every step of the installation process:

  • Engineering
  • Permitting
  • Construction
  • Utility coordination
  • Installation
  • Final commissioning and validation

InCharge Energy has installed EV charging equipment at thousands of customer locations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and beyond. When you select the full turnkey solution, InCharge Energy expertly manages every step of the process to ensure that the equipment and software work properly with your buses for a successful deployment.

Final Bolt Down

Some districts prefer to rely on their own electrician or construction crew to complete the site work. In such cases, the school district has the option to procure the hardware and software from Blue Bird, and InCharge will complete the final bolt down of the equipment after the site work is completed. InCharge will also perform the commissioning to ensure the hardware and software is working properly.

When the commissioning is completed, you can immediately start charging your EV buses!

To outfit your school district with EV charging infrastructure tailored to your school bus fleet, turn to the experts at Blue Bird and InCharge.

You can request a quote to learn more about our installation process and discover more benefits of switching to Blue Bird’s electric-powered buses.

Curious about grants? Our Grant Support Team will fill you in on valuable funding opportunities to help offset the upfront costs of purchasing Blue Bird electric school buses and charging infrastructure.

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