Learn how school district Palermo USD cut fueling costs in half

Erik Bakke
Electric Fleets
Published in
3 min readMay 5, 2022

The Palermo Unified School District, located in Northern California, is charging ahead with electrifying its school bus fleet, partnering with bp pulse on charging infrastructure and operations.

The district set out to deploy electric school buses to reduce students’ exposure to harmful emissions. After securing electric vehicle and infrastructure funding, Palermo deployed five Lion Type-C electric buses to transport the district’s 1,200 students. Once deployed, the fleet continues to save by using charging management to lower operating and fuel costs.

Learn how to save on fuel costs for your school fleet, register here for our upcoming webinar on May 19th at 10am PST.

Cutting Energy Costs in Half

To ensure Palermo’s total cost of ownership of their new–and growing–electric bus fleet is low, bp pulse simplified the charging infrastructure and operations, with charging-as-a-service. bp pulse’s work included all aspects of the project from design and engineering to go-live, operations and deployed omega, bp pulse’s charge management system (cms), with no upfront costs to Palermo.

omega, bp pulse’s cloud-based charge management software, provides everything a fleet operator needs to cost-effectively manage and optimize their EVs. Learn more

Through bp pulse’s fully-managed, turnkey charging services, Palermo has contracted an energy rate of $0.10/kWh, which is half of the area’s potential unmanaged charging electricity rate of $0.20/kWh. This lower energy rate means Palermo is effectively paying $1.19 a gallon to power its vehicles — a full 50% lower than their previous electricity costs from unmanaged EV charging.

“While transitioning to electric can be intimidating and costly, bp pulse’s comprehensive and scalable charge management services are taking the planning and management burden off our staff and replacing it with confidence in our fleet’s performance and predictable, fixed fuel pricing,” said Carlos Aguilar, Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation, Palermo Union School District.

bp pulse’s services for Palermo go past installation and CMS to include warranty coverage, guaranteed uptime, a resilience plan, energy bill management through 2026, and support sourcing the final round of funding.

Save More with Funding for School Fleets

The school district started out with funding from the Rural School Bus Pilot Project. To help move the project forward, bp pulse advocated for the fleet to secure $49,839 in funding from the Butte County Air Quality Management District. PG&E also provided $35,488 in charger rebates and “make ready” infrastructure incentives, bringing the total funding amount to $85,327. This support removed significant financial hurdles and eliminated the need for any upfront investment by Palermo.

Just as Palermo took advantage of grants and incentives, funding is currently available for school bus fleets to reduce EV and infrastructure costs. The EPA’s new Clean School Bus Program provides five billion dollars over five years to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. The EPA plans to accept online applications starting in early May through August, and will select applicants via lottery by October 2022; vehicle purchase orders can start soon after selection. Public and nonprofit school districts are encouraged to apply, with priority given to support school districts in low income, rural or tribal communities across the U.S. Learn more about this program and additional funding on an upcoming webinar.

Watch webinar on-demand

To learn how to secure funding and save on EV charging watch a free on-demand webinar. During the webinar, co-hosted by School Transportation News and bp pulse, speakers discuss:

  • How Palermo USD has saved after using bp pulse’s charge management system,
  • How the school district plans to use cost savings to continue expanding their fleet,
  • How to reduce costs with available funding to school fleets, and
  • How your school fleet can save on its EV program.

Watch the webinar on-demand here. bp pulse can help navigate the funding and electrification process, contact us to talk about your plans to electrify.



Erik Bakke
Electric Fleets
Writer for

Global energy expert with 30 years building customer centric solutions in roles from corporate to start-ups. Last 15 years decarbonizing the planet in PV to EV.