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46 Procurement and Deployment The primary drivers for deploying BEBs were generally split into two groups. Half of the transit agencies reported they implemented BEBs due to a combination of board direction, environmental regulations, and environmental/sustainability programs, while a third of the transit agencies were doing it to test the buses in their service. One agency stated that it was âjust the right thing to do.â Figure 22 shows that 17% of reporting transit agencies have procured BEBs through standard procurements (suppliers competing through a transit agencyâs request for proposal) and 39% pro- cured BEBs directly through a federal or state competitive grant opportunity such as FTAâs TIGGER or Low-No programs. Twenty-two percent of the agencies used a combination of both methods. Other forms of procurement included leasing and piggybacking on other procurements. Transit agencies participating in the survey took a variety of approaches to procuring BEBs. When developing BEB specifications, agencies used a combination of methods, including devel- oping their own method, basing them on another agencyâs specifications, using a consultant experienced with BEBs, and using a guide. All transit agencies rated the forthcoming APTA Zero Emission Bus Standard Bus Procurement Guideline as 4 or above on a scale to 10 of importance, with 12 agencies rating it very important (7 or above). Two-thirds of respondents procured the charging infrastructure with the buses under the same contract. An important aspect of infrastructure procurement and installation is coordination with the local utility. Most of the transit agencies reported that they involved the local utility early in the process when making procurement decisions (78%) and when making installation decisions (83%). Life Cycle Cost Analysis Only about half of the respondents did a life cycle cost analysis during the procurement. Nine out of 16 respondents stated they factored electricity rates and/or demand charges into their procurement decisions. Transit agencies addressed risks associated with battery life cycle costs very differently, ranging from a 12-month battery warranty to purchasing extended war- ranties to cover 15 years of bus use, as shown in Figure 23. Battery costs and life have improved significantly over the past decade, which has led to commensurate improvements in warranties. Table 9 provides reported capital costs for the bus projects. Average costs for BEB purchases were just under $900K, depot-charging equipment was $50K, and on-route charging equipment was $500K. It is important to note that these data reflect the survey sample group regardless of when they actually purchased the buses, so the current cost of buses is somewhere less than the average provided in this report. Considering that the upfront capital costs are higher for BEBs than the upfront capital costs for traditional technologies, C h a p t e r 4 Survey Results and Planning
Survey results and planning 47 Procurement 17% 39% 22% 22% Standard bus procurement with suppliers competing through transit agency RFP. Through a federal or state competitive grant opportunity (i.e., FTA TIGGER or Low-No program) Both None of the above. Figure 22. Procurement methods for the agencies surveyed (n = 18). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment. Months A ge nc y N um be r Traction Battery Warranty Base Warranty Extended Warranty Use Depot Charging Only Use On-route Charging Figure 23. Traction battery warranties of the agencies surveyed (n = 15). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment.
48 Battery electric BusesâState of the practice transit agencies emphasized the importance of continued public investment in the deployment of BEBs (15 out of 16 respondents said it was âvery importantâ). Bus Technical Specifications, Operational Requirements, and Route Selection Evaluation of range and charge methods for BEBs is an important step for transit agencies planning to deploy BEBs. Table 10 shows that more than half of the transit agencies used their own agencyâs experience in combination with OEM predictions and bus trials in order to evalu- ate vehicle range, select suitable routes, and determine what type of charging method would be the best fit for their agency. One-third of respondents used consultants and/or advanced model- ing and simulation techniques. On-route Charging Infrastructure Transit agencies selected the location of on-route charging stations in a variety of ways; how- ever, locating them at existing transit centers was the most popular choice. Transit centers are ideal infrastructure siting locations because the real estate is already agency owned and main- tained, route layovers are typically built in at these locations, the centers are typically at the midway or at the end of the line for routes, and they are typically closed to other vehicular traffic. Being closed to other vehicular traffic allows protection for overhead chargers. Transit centers make future expansion easier as well. Agencies reported that they were restricted to installing charging infrastructure at locations where they had dedicated access to the property or where the property was owned by the agency. Agencies responded that they coordinated deployment of on-route infrastructure in conjunc- tion with arrival of the BEBs. The primary goal in coordinating the two was ensuring that the charging infrastructure was in place before the BEBs arrived and could be accepted with the Deployment Costs Minimum Average Maximum Buses (average per bus) $579,000 $887,308 $1,200,000 Depot Charging Equipment (per charger) $2,000 $50,000 $100,000 Depot Charging Installation (per charger) $2,000 $17,050 $64,000 On-Route Charging Equipment (per charger) $330,000 $495,636 $600,000 On-Route Charging Installation (per charger) $50,000 $202,811 $400,000 Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment. Table 9. Upfront costs of BEB procurement. Method Used Evaluation of Range with Respect to Route Needs Account for Variables When Verifying Range Determination of Charge Method Used agency experience 10 9 9 Used consultant 5 6 1 Used OEM predictions 10 9 8 Operated demo bus on routes 10 9 2 Modeling and simulation 7 6 4 Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment. Table 10. Route planning methods (n = 18).
Survey results and planning 49 charging infrastructure in place. Most respondents also involved the local utility in the process, as shown in Figure 24. More than half (61%) of the transit agencies installed the infrastructure themselves instead of using the bus OEM, infrastructure provider, or consultant. For most agencies, the installa- tion was uneventful because the power requirements were well understood by all and com- munication between relevant stakeholders (OEMs, local utilities, construction architecture and engineering companies, public works, local and state DOTs, and local planners) minimized the learning curve. Nine out of 11 respondents stated the agency owns the infrastructure; two respondents stated the public municipality owns the infrastructure. There were no responses stating the utility owns the infrastructure. The transit agencies were split when asked if they would like other medium and heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans or refuse trucks) to have access to the on-route infrastructure. Respondents against making access available stated such access would interfere with bus opera- tions and would complicate electricity billing. Respondents in favor of making access available thought such access could be an encouragement for deployment of more electric vehicles. Responses were evenly split between the types of entrances that agencies used for accessing the on-route charging infrastructure, whether it is on road, a pull-off lane, or a pull-in driveway entrance. Most of the transit agencies (73%) have the buses align with the charger using visual cues on road or roadside as opposed to other methods such as video cues, audible cues, and cues on the dash. Almost half of the buses also use semi-automated control to align with the charger. NRELâs Foothill Transit fleet evaluation accurately depicts a semi-automated docking process: The docking process requires very little driver interaction as it is a semi-automated process. Each vehi- cle is equipped with a unique radio-frequency identification tag that the charging heads use to initialize the docking procedure. The vehicle is stopped by the driver in front of the charging head, the charging head recognizes the vehicle, and the vehicle is put into a semiautonomous creep mode and driven forward as the charging head lowers from the overhead dock to align with the vehicleâs roof-mounted guide. Once the vehicle is in place, it is automatically stopped, and the driver places it in park before charging com- mences (Prohaska et al., n.d., page 5). 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Did you procure charging infrastructure with the vehicles under the same contract? Did you involve the local utility when making infrastructure procurement decisions? Did you involve the local utility when making infrastructure installation decisions? Charging Infrastructure Procurement Yes No Figure 24. Local utility involvement in the procurement process (n = 18). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment.
50 Battery electric BusesâState of the practice Layover Location Characteristics The responding transit agencies located on-route charging infrastructure at transit centers in seven instances, that is, at an agency-owned property in four instances and on the side of a public street in three instances. Most transit agencies have 200 square feet or more of available footprint for the charging infrastructure and light-to-no traffic density at the location they selected, as shown in Figures 25 and 26. Four out of 11 transit agencies have had incidents associated with other vehicles colliding with the infrastructure (see Chapter 6, Case Examples: King County Metro). Eight out of 11 respondents do not have clearance requirements or clearance restriction bars at the infrastructure to help prevent such incidents. 18% 18% 9% 55% Available Footprint at the Infrastructure Location Sidewalk space 25 sqft 50 sqft 100 sqft 150 sqft 200 sqft or more Figure 25. Available footprints at infrastructure locations (n = 11). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment. 46% 27% 18% 9% Street Traffic Density at the Infrastructure Location None Light Medium Heavy Figure 26. Street traffic density at infrastructure locations (n = 11). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment.
Survey results and planning 51 In many cases, transit agencies had to adjust bus schedules to accommodate the charge times. The agencies were split between being able to accommodate either 5 to 10 minutes of charge time (55%) or able to accommodate more than 15 minutes. No agencies stated that they had between 10 to 15 minutes to charge. Irregular charge schedules can sometimes be required due to numerous factors such as traffic delays, missed charges that need to be made up, and high util- ity demand rates. Fifty-five percent of agencies reported having the flexibility to accommodate irregular charge schedules while 45% of agencies did not have that flexibility. The agencies reported that communication between the stakeholders (utility, public works, local and state DOTs, OEM, and local planners) was key to having a successful procurement. One agency emphasized that the charging power requirements must be understood by all. How- ever, as one agency reported, âWorking with the local utility company became trying at times as well as agreeing on the actual installation of the equipment.â Electricity Rate Structure BEB operation costs are highly dependent on utility electricity rates, both energy costs and demand charges. These rates vary from utility to utility across the country and can even vary within a utility price schedule. Eighty percent of respondents monitor their utility bills to under- stand their impacts on operating costs and to determine if alternate rate structures can be con- sidered. All of the transit agencies that responded to this question believe there is a need for development of a utility rate specifically suited to the needs of BEB fleets. According to the survey, 66% of respondents said that it was not difficult selecting an optimum electricity rate structure, most likely because those agencies only had one rate structure available to them from the utility or because they were not analyzing how BEB operations and charge schemes can affect rate plans. Agencies continued to stress the importance of working with their utility early in the process to obtain the best electricity pricing for the fleet. Planning and Support Tools The BEB industry appears to be 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 regard- ing range predictions, utility rate analysis, and life cycle cost analyses and adjustments, as shown in Figure 27. About half of the agencies stated that enhanced tools would be beneficial when making complex procurement decisions when selecting the appropriate BEB technology for the given application; the other half of agency respondents were not sure if they would help. Scalability An important aspect of planning for BEB implementation is considering the scalability of the project. As addressed later in the case examples, sound advice to newer transit agencies is to have the end goal in mind when installing infrastructure in order to prevent the possibility of repeating expensive construction activities. As reported, many transit agencies were pri- marily looking to the initial BEB deployment to gain experience with the technology and to understand how it works within their operation and service. It is understandable that 39% of the respondents were not planning in advance for scale up at this stage. However, 50% of the respondents anticipated issues with not having adequate depot or on-route property and right- of-way to support charging infrastructure for full BEB fleets, 28% anticipated issues related to not having adequate electrical power, and 50% anticipated issues with inadequate resources (e.g., scheduling and manual connections) for charging BEBs at scale, as shown in Figure 28.
52 Battery electric BusesâState of the practice 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 When making complex procurement decisions when selecting the right BEB technology for the application When predicting range on a given day When determining which utility rate structure is best for the application To understand actual lifecycle costs of BEBs and making appropriate adjustments to service and/or future purchases Would these enhanced technical support and/or software tools be beneficial? Yes No Not sure Figure 27. Planning and support tools (n = 15). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Did you plan in advance for scale up of your BEB fleet and associated charging infrastructure? Do you anticipate issues with having adequate physical space for charging BEBs at scale? Do you anticipate issues with having adequate electrical power for charging BEBs at scale? Do you anticipate issues with having adequate resources (scheduling, manual plugging) for charging BEBs at scale? BEB and Infrastructure Scalability Yes No Figure 28. BEB and infrastructure scalability planning (n = 18). Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment.
Survey results and planning 53 Some examples follow from transit agencies that did plan in advance for accommodating scale up: â¢ âAnalyzing a 24 year roadmap and producing model simulations.â â¢ âCollaborating with the city to ensure that it will provide more service for increased demand.â â¢ âDoing as much underground work as possible when the trenches were open.â â¢ âPlanning future routes and locations based on maximum scalability.â â¢ âLocating chargers to serve existing and planned routes.â â¢ âDevelopment of a bus maintenance facility to accommodate fleet expansion.â