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85 The primary future needs identified in this synthesis report include the following: â¢ The need for continued BEB price reductions to reach parity with conventional bus technolo- gies. BEB costs have been dropping consistently over the last 5 years and have not yet shown signs of stabilizing. Further reductions are expected due to continued technology and manu- facturing improvements by the OEMs and battery suppliers. â¢ All transit agencies that responded to the survey believe there is a need to address the impact of utility rates, and demand and time-of-use charges in particular, on BEB operational costs. In some regions, these costs can far exceed equivalent diesel and CNG costs and can be prohibi- tively expensive. Furthermore, there is a need to clearly understand how an agencyâs charge scheme and operation will be affected by the various utility rate components. â¢ The BEB industry is lacking in standardized technical support and software tools to aid agencies in making procurement decisions and managing BEB fleets. The majority of transit agencies responded that these tools would be beneficial when making decisions regarding range predictions, utility rate analyses, and life cycle cost analyses and adjustments. About half of the agencies stated that enhanced tools would be beneficial when making complex procurement decisions when selecting the right BEB technology for a given application. â¢ There is a need for comprehensive data and comparison methods for accomplishing of life cycle cost analyses for BEBs, especially during the planning and procurement phase. Stan- dard methods and baseline data would allow objective, accurate comparisons between specific BEBs (and charge methods) as well as between other bus technologies (e.g., diesel and CNG). â¢ There is a continued need for standard bus procurement guidelines designed specifically for BEBs as well as for the development of charge standards to allow for interoperability with overhead conductive and wireless chargers. C h a p t e r 8 Future Needs