Working Paper

Strategies for deploying zero-emission bus fleets: Development of real-world drive cycles to simulate zero-emission technologies along existing bus routes

A route-level total cost-of-ownership (TCO) modeling framework can determine the total cost of the vehicles and infrastructure required to transition a single route entirely to zero-emission technology. The TCO modeling framework consists of three components: route-level drive cycle development, vehicle simulation, and a TCO assessment. This paper identifies methods for developing route-specific drive cycles in a large-scale urban bus fleet.

Drive cycle development informs a range of analytical tools that can shape decisions around technology selection for a given route, inform decisions on the minimum technology specifications for vehicles, and reveal the infrastructure and investments necessary to support the technology selected.

The development of a representative route-level drive cycle involves three steps. First, operational performance data are collected from buses traveling along these routes. Second, the data are reviewed to ensure data contained in the cycle development database are complete and contain valid data points. Third, a cycle development tool processes the data to obtain route-level drive cycles.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the largest public operator of transit buses in India, aims to transition to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2030. In support of these efforts, the ICCT is developing a route-level TCO model to inform BMTC’s decisions regarding routes, depots, and fleet procurement. The lessons from the planning, procurement, and deployment strategies will be used to inform future deployments of zero-emission buses in Bangalore and other cities.