Running Electric Buses During Cold Weather


As temperatures drop, the range and efficiency of electric buses may be impacted. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation provides information about navigating cold weather for electric buses, including its recently released Cold Weather Impacts on Electric School Buses. While not all these considerations may apply to public transit agencies, the publication highlights strategies bus fleet managers can use to optimize bus performance in cold weather.

The Joint Office is available to help public transit providers with cold weather concerns and other operational issues, such as:

  • Battery sizing and options for cold weather fleets. The Joint Office can help identify optimal battery size and evaluate elements such as heating options by assisting with a route analysis based on real-world battery electric bus experience.
  • Charging infrastructure, which can be affected by cold weather and snow. The Joint Office can assist fleets in properly sizing charging stations for different temperatures, evaluating options for siting, and advising on best practices.

In addition, the Joint Office can help fleets build strong electrification plans and avoid pitfalls associated with cold weather by providing examples of success stories and connecting agencies with other battery-electric bus users in similar climates.

FTA partners with the Joint Office to offer new technical assistance to public transit agencies shifting their fleets from diesel vehicles to low- and no-emission buses and ferries. The new program was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.