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  • Natalie LeFlore

Transitioning to Greener Transit? Here’s What to Consider.

Historically, battery-powered vehicles have lacked the power, range, and efficiency to compete with the range provided by vehicles run on fossil fuels - but not anymore. 


New zero-emission bus technologies are market viable and increasingly cost-competitive when considering the life-cycle costs compared to buses that run on fossil fuels. 


Technology improvements have increased zero-emission vehicle ranges, making them able to run longer trips. It’s estimated that over a 12-year life span, each zero-emission bus can eliminate 1,690 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.


“Zero-emission bus technology is emerging as a realistic procurement option for transit agencies looking to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from their fleet. However, there are challenges with the adoption of zero-emission technology, such as installing supporting infrastructure, identifying specific operational considerations related to deployment, and interdisciplinary planning.” The U.S Department of Transportation provides a guide with all you need to know before transitioning. Here is some key information to take note of.


Zero-emission bus technologies that are currently available include systems using hydrogen fuel cells, wired electric, and battery electric. Determining the best power source for a zero-emission fleet of transit buses will require your agency to assess the different options that are feasible in your service area. You’ll need to coordinate with local planning agencies, maintenance and operations staff, local power utilities, alternative fuel providers, vehicle manufacturers, and community organizations to identify the most appropriate technology. 


As an agency considering procuring a new zero-emission bus fleet, you may lack resources or funding, have limited support from leadership, lack a clear plan to enable transition or have regulatory constraints that could hinder fleet expansion or vehicle-type transition. Many fleets will need to pursue a phased-approach due to the continued high upfront costs and vehicle range (i.e., the distance the vehicles can run before needing to be recharged or refueled). In regards to funding, there are a number of options to accommodate high infrastructure costs and upgrades including both public and private grant funding and incentives. You’ll also need to accommodate training bus operators and other key staff, emergency plan development, regular fleet and infrastructure inspections, and how to track and evaluate fleet performance. 



 

How The LeFlore Group Can Help


The LeFlore Group was established in 2002 as a full-service support group with the purpose of helping the transit industry navigate government compliance, project and program management, and organizational improvement. Through over 20 years of experience, TLG has helped numerous agencies solve complex business problems, including a number of successful zero-emission fleet transitions. 


We’re committed to providing exceptional customer service while guiding agencies in implementing both hydrogen and battery-electric infrastructure solutions. Our experience in delivering successful projects is a testament to our unwavering dedication to meeting your needs. We understand that every agency is different, and we tailor our project approach accordingly. By partnering with us, you can expect a seamless transition to hydrogen and battery electric technologies, resulting in operational excellence and environmental benefits. Our team's industry expertise ensures that you're in good hands, and we'll work closely with you to make your goals a reality. Whether it's hydrogen or battery electric, you can count on The LeFlore Group to be your trusted ally in creating a cleaner, more sustainable future.


Additionally, TLG has helped countless agencies navigate the identification, application, and management side of grant funding. TLG has successfully applied for and received funding for Low or No Emission Vehicle Program Funding (5339), Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funding; along with managing projects that included the aforementioned funding types, we have also managed projects that included varying funding sources, local, state, and federal. Understanding the ins and outs of quarterly reporting and coordinating project progress with funding requirements has been something that our experiences with a number of transit agencies around the nation have allowed us to master.


If your agency is considering transitioning to zero-emission technology and is in need of more information, feel free to shoot us a message!


Rudy LeFlore

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