May 24, 2016 - Trans Tech eSeries Featured in School Bus Fleet Electric Bus Article

School Bus Fleet

May 24, 2016

Can Electric School Buses Go the Distance?

With more offerings than ever, the technology and benefits from electric buses are generally proven. But where are they operating today? Is there funding available to help school districts outside California afford the vehicles? What about other obstacles, such as extremely cold weather?

There are now more companies manufacturing electric school buses and converting fossil fuel powered buses than just a few years ago. However, the buses have just become commercially available in the last year, says John Clements, vice president of electric bus sales for First Priority Bus Sales – California.

Pilot projects

In addition to Gilroy (Calif.) Unified School District, which has been operating an electric school bus converted from diesel by Adomani since 2014, the zero-emissions vehicle solutions supplier is converting diesel school buses to electric power or replacing buses for about 25 school districts.

Adomani and GreenPower recently partnered to build electric school buses for California from the ground up using technology developed for transit buses, says Jim Reynolds, CEO of Adomani.

In addition to having its electric powertrain in Trans Tech’s SSTe Type A school bus, Motiv Power Systems’ powertrain will also be in the Starcraft eQuest XL. The electric powertrain supplier has partnered with Creative Bus Sales to develop the Type C school bus, which can seat up to 48 passengers. That bus is being launched by Starcraft and Creative Bus Sales, says Jim Castelaz, founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems...


E Series Photo (480x 320)

Kings Canyon Unified School District in California put two Trans Tech SSTe Type A buses into operation on special-needs routes in 2014, and soon after, ordered two more, shown here. They were delivered in March.

On the road

Kings Canyon Unified School District (USD) in California put two Trans Tech SSTe Type A buses into operation on special-needs routes in 2014, and soon after, ordered two more, which were delivered in March. Now, the first two are being retrofitted by Motiv with the high-voltage system needed to accommodate a new Spheros air conditioning system, Clements says.

The buses have been used occasionally on routes that range from 14 to 37 miles round trip, and the district plans to extend one of those routes to about 60 miles round-trip to pick up more students.

“This bus will be ideal for [the route] because to run a full-size hybrid or natural gas bus is costly, compared to the 7 to 14 cents a kilowatt hour for an electric school bus,” he adds.

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