Location: Athens, OH

Fleet Type: Heavy-duty Shuttle Bus

 

 

Narrative

Hocking-Athens-Perry County Community Action (HAPCAP) is a community action agency that primarily serves Hocking, Athens, and Perry County in southeast Ohio. As a whole, they run a wide variety of programs including the Southeast Ohio Food Bank, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, as well as five transportation programs. One of these programs is Athens Public Transportation which is the program that is home to their newly adopted electric shuttle bus.

The journey to purchasing their first electric vehicle (EV) began when they were approached by Rural Action, an organization focused on sustainability and development primarily in rural areas. This, along with a loose interest in procuring EVs and help with funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) as well as donation, was what made their goal a possibility. They were now able to bring the idea of EVs to the forefront for everyday use in a rural area.

HAPCAP placed their first EV into operation in October of 2022. They purchased a 2022 Turtle Top Terra Transit shuttle bus for use as part of their fixed transit fleet. Athens Public Transit operates seven routes that run through both the city and county of Athens. Their electric shuttle bus is one of the vehicles that helps to accomplish these routes almost everyday though they tend to keep the EV to the smaller routes to accommodate battery range. It successfully functions as a public transit bus making stops around town, picking up passengers, and completing the typical fixed route duties.

Their overall experience in implementing the EV into their fleet has been both positive and enlightening. Their main goal was to let community members who may not usually have access to EVs or the opportunity for access to EVs to be able to ride in them and experience them as an everyday vehicle. They found that both the passengers and drivers have enjoyed the EV and that it does well in their fleet. Though they have had their fair share of learning experiences specifically regarding charging and maintenance. 

The city of Athens has several fast public charges located throughout the community. Currently, they primarily charge their shuttle bus at a level 2 charger located in the garage. They hope for and anticipate an increase in chargers with a faster charging rate for the fleet vehicles in the future. They purchased their EV before their charger was installed on site and found that there was confusion and a lack of knowledge in the permitting process of installing the charger. They also find that they are still working towards understanding the nuances of having such a new type of vehicle in their fleet. Every time something comes up, whether that be charging, or maintenance related, they have had to troubleshoot to ensure they’re handling the situation correctly and in the best way possible. Though HAPCAP has been adapting to the operation of having an EV in their fleet, they find that the entire experience has been an important step forward and an opportunity to step into a different realm and better educate themselves, their mechanics, drivers, and the public.

Outputs and Outcomes

The one major output from HAPCAP’s first step towards electrification is simply procuring their EV and utilizing the information and funding from Rural Action and the DOE that helped ensure the successful procurement of the shuttle bus. The outcomes of this have been both giving the public the opportunity to experience an EV and increasing HAPCAP’s knowledge and understanding of the operation of an EV for future potential growth in their fleet and electrification.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

  1. Understand the charging infrastructure.
  2. Understand the permitting and installation of charging infrastructure.
  3. Install charging infrastructure prior to procuring EVs.

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HAPCAP Fleet Story

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