1. Establish solid collaborative partnerships with utilities from an early stage, and open a dialogue about goals and interests from the outset. Agencies should work with public officials and local utilities to enact a transportation rate for electricity and use rate modeling in the planning process for launching electric bus service.
2. Ensure contracts with the bus manufacturers include provisions to guarantee protection in the event that the vehicles delivered do not perform as promised.
3. Be realistic about the capabilities of electric buses for particular routes and conditions, and study route modeling data to determine the appropriate type of bus for the route.
4. Before going to bid, shadow existing diesel buses with electric vehicles from different vendors and ensure that the bid includes the needs identified in the route study.
5. Invest in as large a fleet as possible as soon as proof of concept can be established. Ensure the availability of additional electrical capacity and build the infrastructure to be able to add more chargers, including on-route charging infrastructure where necessary. The larger the fleet, the greater the potential economies of scale, and the greater the opportunity to demonstrate the vehicles’ functionality and desirability.
6. Acquire as much data as possible from agencies already using the technology. Ask agencies where they’ve been successful, where they’ve failed, and where they’ve worked with manufacturers and utilities to find solutions to issues that have arisen.
7. Include environmental and health benefits (for example, the “social cost of carbon”) in any evaluation of the costs and benefits of electric buses. Calculations of return on investment should include the total societal cost for the life cycle of an electric bus versus a diesel bus.