Electric Bus Integration: Tackling Operational Challenges

The global shift towards sustainable urban transit isn’t just a trend — it’s a dynamic movement reshaping the very core of city transportation. Electric bus integration is at the forefront of this transformative journey, heralding a new era where eco-friendly alternatives replace traditional diesel buses. However, various operational challenges arise as cities worldwide eagerly embrace this positive change. Among the complexities of transitioning to electric buses are navigating the benefits of key aspects like driver training, maintenance considerations, infrastructure development, range limitations and the seamless integration into existing transit systems. Welcome aboard as we embark on a journey towards a greener and cleaner future for our cities, illuminating the path to a more forward-thinking urban transit landscape.

Effective Driver Training Programs: Nurturing Competence for Electric Transit Excellence

In electric transit, drivers are the cornerstone of successful operations, so comprehensive electric bus driver training is paramount. Drivers must not only maneuver vehicles with finesse but also leverage the unique features of electric buses and ensure passenger safety. 


Recognizing this integral role, Schetky Bus & Van Sales goes above and beyond by offering specialized training programs that instill confidence and proficiency, empowering drivers to navigate the complexities of electric bus operations easily.

Case Study of a Successful Program

The US Department of Transportation conducted a study in five stages from November 2010 to August 2011, focusing on two vehicle groups (day cabs and sleeper cabs), each split into control and pilot groups. This approach allowed monitoring and comparison of driver behavior and performance across different intervention stages.


The study revealed that in the pilot groups, there was a significant reduction in unsafe driving events, with a 55% decrease in minor events and up to a 63% reduction in more severe incidents. Speeding was notably reduced, especially among long-haul drivers, who showed a 42% decrease in miles driven over 65 mph. Fuel economy improved, with increases up to 9.3%. These positive changes in driving behavior were sustained even after the intervention period, demonstrating the lasting impact of the study’s approach.

Tips for Developing Training Curriculum for Electric Bus Integration

It requires a strategic approach to develop an effective driving curriculum. A holistic approach encompasses hands-on experience, theoretical knowledge and ongoing education that foster a competent and adaptable transit workforce. Hands-on experience allows drivers to familiarize themselves with the nuances of electric bus operations, theoretical knowledge instills a deeper understanding of the technology, and ongoing education ensures that drivers remain at the forefront of evolving electric bus technologies. 


electric bus maintenance at Schetky's

Electric Bus Maintenance and Repair Considerations: Prolonging Electric Transit Lifespan

One of the central challenges lies in battery management, which requires a deep understanding of charging protocols, battery health monitoring and the management of battery cycles. Unlike traditional diesel engines, electric buses rely heavily on battery technology, making precise battery management a cornerstone for prolonged efficiency and performance.


Moreover, electric buses have intricate electronic systems, including controllers, inverters and sensors, that play a pivotal role in the overall functionality of the bus. Maintenance teams must understand these electronic systems in-depth to ensure timely diagnostics, repairs and upgrades to guarantee optimal performance.


Unlike the mechanical simplicity of diesel engines, electric buses have a complex network of interconnected systems. Robust diagnostics are needed to identify potential issues, optimize performance and perform preventative maintenance. Understanding these diagnostic intricacies empowers maintenance teams to proactively address concerns, minimizing downtime and contributing to the overall longevity of the electric bus fleet.


In understanding the unique aspects of battery management, electronic components and system diagnostics, Schetky Bus and Van Sales empowers maintenance teams with unparalleled expertise to help in the maintenance and repair. 


“Their excellent customer service before and after the sale is also important to us. The team at Schetky Northwest knows us by name and supports our goals. As we move into the EV world, we know they will be right there with us,” said David Denney, director of transportation for Highline Public Schools.


Schetky has been at the forefront of this movement for commercial buses. We can sell new electric buses and retrofit fleets to upgrade them with electric drivetrains. Schetky is positioned to offer commercial transportation with a turnkey approach to electrifying their fleets. 

Electric Transit Infrastructure Development: Powering Progress Through Planning

Spectrum News reported, “The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates the country will need 28 million charging ports by 2030 to refuel the 33 million light-duty electrics that could be on the road by then.”


Based on this report, another important factor for electric transit success is meticulously planning and implementing a robust charging infrastructure. This infrastructure is the backbone, a lifeline that sustains and propels the electric bus fleet forward. The journey begins with careful site selection, where factors like accessibility, energy grid connectivity and urban planning considerations come into play. Once sites are identified, installing charging stations requires a strategic approach, considering the chargers’ type, capacity and compatibility with the bus fleet. 

Overcoming Electric Bus Range Challenges

Range limitations are one of the primary challenges of electric buses, which can be solved through strategic route planning. This planning requires collaborating with city planners and engineers to integrate charging stations throughout the urban landscape seamlessly. The strategic placement of charging infrastructure addresses a range of challenges and optimizes routes for efficiency. 


By strategically locating charging stations at critical points along bus routes, cities can ensure that electric buses operate within their optimal range, mitigating concerns about battery depletion. This collaborative approach contributes to the electric bus fleet’s overall success. It enhances the efficiency and reliability of public transportation services, marking a significant stride towards a sustainable and future-ready transit system.

electric bus fleet, orange electric bus

Electric Buses Integration with Existing Transit Systems

Integrating electric buses into existing transit systems is a nuanced process marked by unique challenges. Challenges often include additional training for transit staff, potential disruptions to service during the integration phase and coordinating the logistics of introducing a new type of vehicle into established operations. Solutions to these challenges underscore the importance of coordination and communication — ensuring that all stakeholders are informed, prepared and involved in the integration process. Effective coordination and clear communication alleviate concerns and pave the way for a smooth transition, minimizing disruptions to existing transit services.

Software and Tracking Systems Enhance Operational Efficiency

Sophisticated software and tracking systems are also crucial to successfully integrating electric buses. These systems facilitate seamless operations during the integration phase and beyond. Their contribution is multifaceted, from enhanced fleet management to optimized scheduling and reliable service provision. These systems provide real-time insights into the performance and location of electric buses, enabling transit directors to make informed decisions. By harnessing the power of data, these systems harmonize the transition and contribute significantly to the overall success of electric bus adoption. 


In navigating the complexities of electric bus adoption, the persistent focus on addressing the needs and challenges of transit directors reflects an unwavering commitment to building sustainable, efficient and future-ready urban transit systems.

Case Study of the First City with Entirely Electric Bus Fleet Integration

In 2016, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) set an ambitious goal of converting all their diesel-powered buses to 100% electric buses. In 2020, it achieved a groundbreaking milestone by fully transitioning all its aging buses and acquiring 85 new electric buses. A year later, it launched the first commuter coach in North America, fully powered by electricity. This switch translates to:


  • 1,750,000 gallons of diesel fuel use avoided.
  • $2,362,500 in net savings.
  • 41.58 million pounds of CO2 emissions reduced. 


According to the World Research Institute, “Transit agencies and bus operating entities play a key role in electric bus adoption. They should be actively involved in the planning and analysis stages of a city’s electric bus adoption projects.”

Shaping the Future of Urban Transit with Schetky Bus & Van Sales


As we navigate the challenges of adopting electric buses in existing transit systems, the pivotal role of effective solutions becomes evident. Schetky Bus & Van Sales is your ally toward building sustainable and efficient urban transit.


We’re leading the industry into these new technologies: electric, autonomous, fuel cell, and other innovative products that are on the horizon. We are preparing to lead in all these categories.

Financial Advantage

At Schetky Bus and Van Sales, the benefits extend beyond environmental responsibility, encompassing substantial financial advantages. Consumer Reports found that electric vehicles cut repair and maintenance costs by 50% compared to gas-fueled cars. The elimination of engine maintenance, coupled with the vast cost savings compared to traditional fossil fuel options, makes the transition to electric transit not just environmentally conscious but financially prudent.

Software for Remote Monitoring

Equipped with cutting-edge software, our electric bus and van platforms allow for remote monitoring, diagnostics and preventative maintenance scheduling. This software ensures our vehicles consistently perform optimally, providing a seamless experience after the initial purchase. We ensure reliability and longevity with substantial battery packs and motor warranties, offering tailored electric conversions for various applications, from buses to work trucks.

Choosing Schetky Bus & Van Sales for electric bus adoption aligns with environmental goals and assures unmatched quality and service. From electric buses to shuttles, school buses and beyond, Schetky stands ready to meet all transit needs, contributing to realizing a sustainable, efficient and future-ready urban transit system. Explore our diverse catalog or contact us for more details to take the first step towards a greener, more responsible transit future.