One question many operators have is, “how do I use the most buses with the fewest chargers?”
It is a constant challenge to maximize the distance your buses drive on a daily basis while charging as little as possible. Plus, staying on time is another important consideration when it comes to operating multiple buses on different routes and their charging times. And this is crucial when it comes to opportunity charging or any charging that happens during short times between route loops or blocks.
These considerations bring up questions like:
– Which approach should I use to account for the time spent charging as best as I can?
– How long does it take to charge?
-When can I allow the driver to leave a charger and continue driving?
We’ve compiled a few practical tips to help understand charging your electric buses and how to stay on schedule.
Charging and Staying on Schedule
The first aspect in terms of using the most buses with the fewest charges is charging and staying on schedule. In order to do this, an understanding of the charging time and the battery capacity needs to be established. Many conditions can influence the charging time and how long the battery lasts, such as weather, route conditions, and traffic.
💡Tip: Monitor your buses over time, in different conditions using a monitoring system. This will help establish an understanding of the battery capacity in terms of distance and route loops.
Account for Charging Time when Monitoring Routes
The second factor that is important to take into account is the charging time. This can vary depending on many factors. Some of the variables include what type of bus is driven, the charger used, and the weather conditions at the time.
Using a bus monitoring system can provide the data you need to take all of these factors into account and stay on schedule. For example, maybe the data shows the bus doesn’t need to charge up to 100%, it’s possible that just 30% or 10 minutes of charging each time is sufficient.
💡Tip: Figure out how long an average charging time takes and plan this into the route time accordingly.
Understand Range Variability
Another important aspect to take into consideration when charging the buses is learning about range variability. To better understand what it means to have knowledge of the range variability of an electric bus, it can be easier to think about what it is like driving a car that runs on fuel.
When you are driving your car and see the gaslight go on, you generally will know how long before the gas completely runs out, to get to the next station. When using an electric bus it is useful to be at this level of comfort. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article about range variability or check out this one here to learn more.
💡Tip: Compare your distance driven to time spent charging in the portal. The goal is to allocate enough charge time each day for the amount of driving you to need. You may find that you’re able to drive a longer route because you always have enough battery to keep driving, and enough time to recharge.
Make use of Charging Reports
Charging reports can provide useful insights regarding the relationship between how long a bus takes to charge, and how long the bus is able to drive. This can eventually lead to an operator being able to make a quick decision. Operators can report to the driver when they have questions such as, “I’m at 12%, can I keep going or is that too low?” or “I’m super far behind on the route and I’m at 80%, can I just leave and start driving?”.
💡Tip: Using reports, such as those offered at ViriCiti is one of the easiest ways to figure out these rules. There are many factors. However, based on recommendations from experts, it is advised to do an analysis every 6 months.
Being able to make a quick and educated decision in these various situations will ultimately make your fleet more efficient. A comprehensive understanding of the vehicle will create smoother operations. This is especially important for those who rely on charging out on the route!