Recommended Total Cost of Ownership Parameters for Electric School Buses: Summary of Methods and Data
This Technical Note is a reference guide for those conducting the total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of diesel and electric school buses. The publication presents a landscape analysis of information related to school bus procurement, performance, and operations, such as purchase costs, maintenance and operating costs, fuel economies, vehicle lifetime, charger and installation costs, and more. The recommended default specifications for key calculation parameters will improve understanding of the economics of school bus electrification.
Replacing traditional diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses (ESBs) can reduce students’ exposure to air pollution and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. School districts and private fleet operators around the United States are increasingly interested in adopting ESBs and want to understand what this transition will mean for their budgets. Calculating the total cost of ownership for ESBs, and their diesel counterparts, can be challenging because industry data needed to estimate input parameters for these calculations have not yet been tracked in a consistent, centralized, public fashion for this new technology, and can vary significantly across sources.
Data to assess the TCO of ESBs are imperative for school districts and other stakeholders interested in transitioning school bus fleets from traditionally diesel-powered vehicles to electric ones. This Technical Note helps fill the gap surrounding TCO information by outlining the scope of TCO assumptions, the methodology used to identify the range of data for each parameter and the assumptions used where data were not readily available. The Technical Note includes recommended default values to enable school districts, policymakers, and advocates to conduct their own TCO analysis, and also serves to document the rationale behind default values used in analysis conducted by WRI using open-source total cost of ownership tools.
For related resources, visit the Electric School Bus Initiative's Toolbox.
Thumbnail image by FCPS Office of Communication & Community Relations
Electric School Bus Initiative
Collaborating to equitably electrify the U.S. school bus fleet.Part of Cities
Increasing access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and optimizing to reduce emissions.Part of Cities