Bus conversion to electric vehicles is one of the most promising transportation options for many workers.
But it’s also one that’s a big transition, requiring drivers to adapt to an entirely different kind of job.
Bus conversion to EVs has been a hot topic in the past few years.
It’s been a boon for bus companies who say it’ll make commuting easier for customers.
And it’s helped the auto industry, which is trying to make electric vehicles more affordable.
Transportation advocates have also pushed for bus conversion as a way to increase efficiency in the U.S. But it’s still not a common practice.
There are only about 8,000 public school buses in the country, according to the U-T San Diego.
Even in large cities, most school districts are only charging for buses that are equipped with a battery that’s capable of powering a small battery pack, called a range extender.
In rural areas, it’s rare to find a school bus that’s equipped with the battery technology.
So how do you convert your bus into an electric vehicle?
“Bus conversion is becoming increasingly common,” said Lisa Kallstrom, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business who studies the use of technology to improve transportation.
The first steps are usually to buy an electric bus, she said.
Then, you’ll either buy the battery and then install it yourself, or buy a battery extender to use with your school’s buses.
If you have the flexibility to buy a range extension for your bus, “then that’s where you’re going to have to invest in a charging station,” Kallstorm said.
“That’s the most difficult step.”
The process varies depending on the type of bus.
Depending on the size of the school district, there may be only one bus converted to an electric.
If the district is large enough, there’s more than one.
A lot of school districts still rely on the bus to transport students.
In some states, like California, the buses can’t be used for transportation unless they’re equipped with an electric range extenders.
“In many parts of the country you can drive from one school district to another and still be using your school buses,” Kavita Nambi, director of education programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Bloomberg.
For many schools, converting a bus into a hybrid electric vehicle is a straightforward process.
You just plug it in and then use the battery extenders to drive it from one district to the next.
Electric buses are now more common in urban areas than in rural areas.
With more buses on the road, more people will have the option of using their buses as a viable transportation option, said Jim Anderson, executive director of the National Association of School Bus Manufacturers.
Students are also more likely to be commuting by public transportation, Anderson said.
“This is really an opportunity for a lot of people who are working in public transportation,” he said.
That means bus operators can make money while getting to work, which could help them with their retirement and taxes.
School bus conversion is a great option for parents who want to take their kids to school.
It’s a cost-effective way to reduce the cost of transport for their families, said Julie Boudreau, the founder of SchoolBusReach.org, a nonprofit that helps parents make school transportation decisions.
However, some parents say it’s too much work.
While the conversion to a bus is a major transition for most people, many parents will have to change jobs, Anderson noted.
This transition takes time.
And with a new school year starting next month, bus conversion can’t happen in a single day.
Many bus drivers say they’ll continue to operate in their current jobs for now, even though the conversion is just getting started.