- Apr 13, 2006
We are still doing a similar breakdown here, we need to replace our bus fleet, 8 busses. We are still collecting data but we have our maintenance costs for our existing fleet and its predecessors going back to the 70's, based on the numbers and estimates for the all-electric fleet over a 10 year period the electric busses appear to be significantly cheaper, how much cheaper depends on fuel and electrical rates, we have solar on all our main buildings and that is sold back to the grid so if we are repurposing that to charge the busses we are selling less and there are the unexpected things that get pretty costly pretty quickly but given pricing for motors and batteries and such we are estimating that each bus we swap out pays for itself in 7 years given expected mean time failures and assuming 1 in 3 require battery replacements before their 10 years is up. If they all require battery replacements before that 10 year period the expected costs between them wash out. What we are waiting on currently is the nature of the batteries and if they are something we are able to maintain ourselves swap out dead cells and such or if they require full replacements. We are waiting on updates from International and Bluebird on that, as well as pricing for their diagnostic tools and software licensing as they seem to change that every GD year.
One of our biggest pushbacks is from the union as they are afraid going electric would require us to have fewer mechanics on hand as they are expected to have much fewer issues, and on that, they are likely correct. So that is a whole other issue surrounding the conversion but that is one between the Union and HR, they will likely push to delay the conversion just to avoid the whole scenario but I am not sure accounting is going to want to go that route.
Note: When I say pays for itself I mean the savings from going electric exceeds the cost of having purchased the diesel model.
Problem with the batteries is they degrade after a few years and you will notice it and they will have reduced range in colder climates as well. Just make sure you get your staff fully trained up on the systems, as you don't want someone working on those that doesn't know what they are doing as leaving the system energized is a fatal mistake. Likely a all electric will be slightly cheaper then a diesel bus until battery technology catches up a bit more.