The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-41 [Active (Synthesis)]

Battery Electric Buses - State of the Practice
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/27/2016 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Center for Transportation and Environment
Principal Investigator: Jason Hamlin
Effective Date: 9/15/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

Many transit agencies are interested in understanding the potential benefits and challenges associated with the introduction and operation of battery electric buses (BEBs). Others are facing mandates by outside agencies, like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to convert to clean fuel operations and deploy BEBs. In the USA, more than 20 transit systems are operating these buses. Yet, there is lack of unbiased information for agencies to evaluate the deployment of BEBs. As transit systems consider these deployments, the experiences of those that already have them in their fleet become critical and valuable.

The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the current state of practice regarding the deployment of BEBs (i.e., planning, service, operations and maintenance). Information will be gathered by a literature review (e.g. agency reports, peer reviewed journal articles) and a survey of all the current transit systems that operate BEBs. Transit agencies that might be considering the use of BEBs will also be surveyed.

Topics to be studied include research and practice on the following items (not an inclusive list):

• Route selection criteria
• Infrastructure (installation considerations, utility service needs, charger requirements, etc.)
• Scheduling considerations (dwell time, recovery time, layover time, etc.)
• Technical specifications of vehicles and charging equipment
• Scalability
• Funding sources
• Standards and interoperability

Service, Maintenance and Operations
• Training ( maintenance, operators, first responders, Dispatching systems )
• Availability and Reliability of buses
• Spare ratio requirements
• Resiliency and emergencies
• Equipment longevity and risk mitigation ( vehicles, battery , chargers, unknowns)
• Technology for managing, charging and dispatching
• Stakeholders management (utilities, operators, unions, communities, executive boards, regulatory agencies, etc.)

Costs and benefits (What benefits at what costs?)
• External funding opportunities (federal funding, carbon credits, etc.)
• Customer acceptance
• Social
• Environmental
• Health
• Cost of energy ( utilities)
• Return on Investment ( ROI)

The report should also include 4- 5 case examples that will gather information on the state-of-the-practice, emphasizing lessons learned, current practices, challenges, and gaps. International experiences, including the ones in China, should be mentioned.

Sources of information:
• NREL Study ( Leslie Eudy)
• APTA Bus Procurement Guidelines
• Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) 

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  September 15, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: October 3, 2016, 3:00 p.m., EST
Second Panel: April 21, 2017, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
Sandip Chakrabarti, University of New Orleans
Roland Cordero, Foothill Transit
Donna DeMartino, San Joaquin Regional Transit District
Ed Halbig, City of Seneca
Danny Ilioiu, New York City Transit
Robert H. Irwin
Marc Manning, Chicago Tansit Authorithy
Peter C. Martin, CDM Smith
Tina Wu, Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County
Sean Ricketson, Federal Transit Administration
Jeff Hiott, American Public Transportation Association
Stephen J. Andrle, Transportation Research Board

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