Apr 14

Electric Bus Maintenance Tips during the COVID-19 Lockdown

The impact of COVID-19 on the economy and public health is unprecedented, disrupting routine and modern life. Precautions need to be taken in many areas including the maintenance of electric buses. 

Because of the quarantine orders that are being implemented in many countries, fewer buses are in use or are not needed as often. Fleet operators need to take into account the maintenance necessary for buses sitting unused for long periods of time.

To help keep your electric bus fleet in top shape even during these quarantine times we’ve compiled a few useful tips that can help you with electric bus maintenance.

The Importance of Maintenance

Electric buses generally require less maintenance than their diesel counterparts but that doesn’t mean they don’t require any maintenance at all. During extended periods of non-use its important as ever to follow maintenance protocols in order to ensure the health and longevity of your electric bus, especially the battery (you can also check our article on electric bus battery warranty). When the battery is unused for long periods one of the most prominent effects is standby power drain or “vampire drain”. Range loss is not significant initially but over time it can be detrimental to the vehicle. 

When the battery is unused for long periods one of the most prominent effects is standby power drain or “vampire drain”.

When the battery is in use daily there is less to be worried about than when the bus is unused for an extended period of time.

Check the State of Charge

During a period of non-use one of the most important issues to stay on top of, is making sure your electric bus battery is kept at a proper state of charge during periods of non-use. Although there are other factors that contribute to battery degradation, during these times they do not need to be kept in mind. Even when an electric bus is stagnant, battery degradation can occur if proper care is not taken. Experts say an ideal state of charge is between 25-75% while the vehicle is at a standstill for an extended period.

Using a charging monitoring system can help ensure that your buses stop charging before they reach 100%, preventing battery degradation.

Traditional Bus Maintenance Practices 

In addition to maintaining the battery, more traditional maintenance practices can also be followed. The most critical is to check the low voltage battery charge daily to ensure it isn’t being drained while not in use. Additionally, tire pressure and fluid levels should be monitored regularly. 

Monitor storage conditions where possible

If possible for your location, try to store vehicles in a climate controlled environment, or shaded location for hot climates. Like people, batteries like temperatures between 15-30 degrees Celsius. Sustained temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius have been shown to have negative effects on long-term battery life and health. 

Take Advantage of the Down Time

If you and your team have extra time and energy, now is the time for additional training on electric vehicle maintenance, or to perform maintenance tasks that are hard to complete while providing routine service. If you have the option, it’s also a great time to review energy usage and driving so far this year and to plan for when service begins again.

The Effect of Corona Virus on Electric Buses and Clean Energy

The impact of coronavirus is devastating and far-reaching in terms of public health and the economy. However, hopefully, there can be some positive effects for society as well as opportunities for employment in the renewable energy and electric mobility industries increase. 

In the last few weeks, we have seen an incredible increase in air quality and a decrease in transportation pollution. In New York, carbon monoxide mainly from transportation has been reduced by nearly 50% compared to last year. Nitrogen dioxide, another toxic pollutant associated with respiratory problems, fell by 71% in India.  These are unexpected side-effects of the COVID-19 lockdown but gives hope for a world with cleaner air and a future filled with electric buses and cars. 

From all of us at ViriCiti, we wish you and your family good health and safety in these uncertain times. 

About The Author

We are the ViriCiti marketing team. A group of EV enthusiasts writing about the most important aspects of operating electric fleets. From monitoring to smart charging.