How Electric Vehicles Are Changing Repair Work Requirements
Stevensville, MD, September 21, 2021 - The Twin Rivers Unified School District, educational home to more than 27,000 students in northern Sacramento, is going to the top of the class in the increasingly dynamic subject of green, eco-friendly alternatives for pupil transportation.
And the stakes are high across North America.
Each day, approximately 48,000 yellow school buses transport more than 25 million students to and from school in the U.S. and in the process consume a reported 2.3 billion gallons of fuel per year.
The good news is that school districts such as Twin Rivers recognize that zero-emission, all-electric buses present a real game-changer in pupil transportation. They run cleaner, improve public health, eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and get this, can deliver savings of more than $10,000 per vehicle each year in reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
At Twin Rivers Unified School District (USD), currently home to the largest fleet of electric vehicle (EV) school buses in North America, the organization operates 40 EV buses as part of a combined fleet of 125 vehicles. At the same time, Twin Rivers USD faces a unique challenge – how best to maintain a diverse fleet of combustion engine and electric power vehicles – each class with critical, yet different service and preventative maintenance (PM) requirements.
The contrasts are numerous.
- EVs require fewer brake services, as regenerative braking reduces brake component wear.
- EVs do not require routine oil changes but may require servicing for battery coolant systems.
- Undercarriage vehicle access for EVs is critical, as drive motors, batteries, and control devices are located beneath the vehicle.
- Weight distribution in EVs varies greatly to account for battery packs.
- Finally, EV construction may vary by manufacturer, with some built on standalone, purpose-built fiberglass chassis requiring special attention to lifting points.
Noted Twin Rivers’ Vehicle Maintenance Manager Raymond Manalo, “Keeping the high voltage systems safe is vital. These vehicles require complete undercarriage access for inspection and repair of battery packs, wiring, and thermal management systems.”
Rising to the challenge for Twin Rivers is heavy duty vehicle lift leader and industry innovator Stertil-Koni, which has a particular expertise in electrical vehicle lifting. At Twin Rivers, the powerful Stertil-Koni SKYLIFT – a superior heavy duty platform lift that uniquely provide a “clear floor” concept – has been called into action. The product’s elegant design includes two independent runways, vertical lifting, no crossbeams, no overhang, no base frame, dependable hydraulic technology, a super-safe mechanical locking system and free access to the vehicle from all sides.
The SKYLIFT’s design allows for immediate access to the center frame rails of the raised bus, a feature of key importance in new generation EVs. The battery packs and drive motors are located within these frame rails, giving technicians the ability to rapidly swap batteries before the afternoon route.
The SKYLIFT also offers optional automatic pit covers to further improve EV serviceability. These hot-dip galvanized plates rise up from the floor beneath a flush-mount SKYLIFT, providing a full clear floor when the lift is fully raised. This affords the technician improved access to the vehicle’s center frame rails for drive motor and battery pack access. What’s more, the SKYLIFT is relocatable. In fact, Twin Rivers USD selected a flush-mount SKYLIFT, installed in surface-mount configuration while a new, larger facility is being constructed. In that way, the SKYLIFT could be bolted directly to the current floor without construction, allowing Twin Rivers USD to simply transport the SKYLIFT to its new, permanent home.
Helping to align this mission with the best equipment was Sacramento-based Municipal Maintenance Equipment (MME), an exclusive Stertil-Koni distributor. Throughout the process, MME provided the onsite expertise necessary to engineer an ideal maintenance solution. Notes Manalo, “MME has been a terrific partner. The exceptional attention to our needs was a great fit.”
As Dr. Jean DellAmore, President of Stertil-Koni, summarized: “The nature of pupil transportation is moving quickly towards EV buses and today’s modern maintenance facilities must be ready for the challenge. That’s where Stertil-Koni and our network of dedicated, highly trained distributors can make a real difference. We already have the technology, the know-how and focus to help school districts service the fleets of today and be fully prepared for those of tomorrow.”
About Stertil-Koni USA
Stertil-Koni - proud to be a Buy America company - is the market leader in heavy duty vehicle lifts, notably bus lifts and truck lifts, and proudly serves municipalities, state agencies, school bus fleets, major corporations, the U.S. Military and more. Stertil-Koni's breadth of products meets all ranges of lifting needs and includes portable lifts such as Mobile Column Lifts, 2-post, 4-post, inground piston lifts, platform lifts, and its axle-engaging, inground, scissor lift configuration, ECOLIFT. The company’s innovative, inground telescopic piston DIAMONDLIFT is now available with an optional Continuous Recess system, ideal for low clearance vehicles. Stertil-Koni USA is headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland with production facilities in Europe, The Netherlands, and Streator, IL.