Planning for ZEBs
Bridgette Holzapfel: The initial route analysis and operational plan development is critical to ensuring the success of an electric bus deployment. Without the information mentioned above, the planning department at a public transit agency will not be able to construct accurate or feasible blocks that can be operated in an efficient manner.
One of the many things that a planning department needs to consider is route and block length. They need to ensure that there is sufficient state of charge to complete the block. Also, if the route has many stop points, the more frequently the bus has to stop and accelerate has an impact on battery consumption.
Topology of the route or Line profile is another thing to consider when selecting a suitable route. The planning dept may look to initially assign the electric bus to a route that is relatively flat rather than hilly or with a slope. Going uphill consumes more energy.
Another significant impact that a planning department needs to consider when planning zero emission buses is the changing variables of the weather and temperature. If it’s hot, the vehicle will consume energy for the air conditioner. If it’s cold, the battery will drain faster to heat the bus. This is where a planning department may need to add additional time for preconditioning of the bus.
Finally, the planning department needs to consider not only when the vehicle can be charged, but also needs to avoid charging during high peak periods when electricity is more expensive. This is usually manageable during a pilot phase or when an agency has a few electric buses. However, when more electric buses are purchased, a tool or optimizer should be used.
This tool should be able to create scenarios that looks at:
- Different types of electric buses
- Variable sizes of electric bus fleets and or mixed fleets
- Different placements of charging stations within your network
INIT’s planning tool for e-buses allows you to simulate scenarios using your specific vehicles, charging station types, passenger loads and various temperature ranges. The robust software then delivers the most economical plan for helping you implement electric vehicles into your fleet. This solution allows you to roll out e-mobility in a way that is safe, controlled, and predictable – and ensures an efficient and successful operation of your fleet.