Kings Canyon Unified School District in Reedley, California will become the nation's first school district to operate a pure electric bus when this SST-e Type A bus goes into service in 2014.
A Pure Electric School Bus - A First in the US
Sure, we've all seen electric buses before, but not a school bus.
Developed under a partnership between Motiv Power Systems and Trans Tech Bus, this bus can hold 32 children or 24 children and one wheelchair.
Why'd the school district chose to go electric? The answer is simple: to save money (maybe doing its part to clean up the environment factors in slightly, too).
This bus cuts down on annual fuel costs by approximately $11,000, according to the bus developers. That figure is based on average electricity costs and the fact that a comparable diesel bus gets only 7 MPG.
John Phraner, President of Trans Tech, states:
"An electric bus can save a school district about 16 gallons of fuel a day, or around $11,000 in fuel savings over a year, not to mention maintenance savings. We are very excited to continue to help school districts reduce their transportation budgets and are committed to opening the market for the all-electric school bus."
Even more importantly, the bus is "future proof" in that it's easily upgradeable to future battery technology. It's a standard "short" bus based on a Ford F450 chassis, so parts are easy to come by.
As for range, that's pegged at 80 to 100 miles, which is more than sufficient to meet the daily needs of most school districts.
By this time next year, the US will have its first electric school bus. Let's hope that thousands more come soon.