This Electric School Bus Can Save $11,000 in Fuel Costs Annually


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

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.

Trans TechBus

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19 Comments on "This Electric School Bus Can Save $11,000 in Fuel Costs Annually"

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Great news. 🙂 Just waiting for the “Short Bus” comments… 😉

It is great news. School buses are perfect to electrify. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a major trend for school districts across the country.

(no short bus comment here 🙂

Seems like it would be a lot more cost effective to make a Hybrid bus instead of a pure electric. All you have to do is pancake a motor between the engine and transmission and add a battery to store regen. If you make the battery a little bigger it could be an EREV. Also some lightening would be in order. Hexcell honeycomb floor panels could be used instead of steel. I don’t understand why it takes so long. The pay off numbers work pretty well on these bigger rigs.

A huge percentage of school buses have very predictable, scheduled routes. It makes no sense for them to carry around the cost, volume, and weight of an ICE.

I’m a huge believer in EREV for the general public, but for school buses pure EVs are perfect.

To get much lightening would require a rewrite of Federal Motor Carrier laws. School buses are highly regulated with regard to body structure/strength/crash-worthiness. I’m somewhat surprised that the electrical power train was approved so fast, although specs for “short buses” are lower than larger capacity vehicles.

So how much was the bus?
How long will the battery last?

This is good news if they didn’t use a grant to purchase it. Are we there yet?

Motiv sells controllers that are designed to work with various battery pack sizes, motors and manufacturers. They are advertising a plug and play system that allows fleets to be simply upgraded to newer battery designs as they come along.

Rather than this frankensteinian murica abomination, how about a light aerodynamic bus..

Or better yet, how about single seater autonomous vehicles for the kids.

Well according to the survey posted later, 75 percent of the respondents would not trust your autonomous vehicle to take their kids to school. I do agree though with the idea of, not just electric school buses, but school buses in general being lighter and more aerodynamic. It is good to conserve what ever fuel you are using.

How fast do you expect these school buses to go? While aerodynamics play some role at low speeds, they don’t become a serious fraction of the motor’s workload until you get going above ~40 mph for most cars, or perhaps ~30 mph for a school bus. And think about how often a school bus is stopped at idle, or is in the process of accelerating and decelerating. I would list the important points to be: removing the wasteful ICE, adding regenerative braking, and discontinuing dumping ICE exhaust fumes into children’s lungs. A big score for going EV! The most important thing about the vehicle’s shape, weight, & appearance is safety: protection for occupants in a crash, and clear identification as a school bus. Aerodynamics is a bit down the priority list in this particular case, and dropping weight better not come at the expense of safety.

After Hurricane Katrina smashed apart the Gulf Oil refineries for a few weeks they had several oil and gas supply cuts in Georgia to the point that some of the local school districts closed school for two or three days to avoid having to fuel their bus fleets during the peak of the oil problems at the time. This bus is neat in that every school district could have two to three of them in their fleet and it would save a ton in fuel.

What I also hope now is that they set up some type of plug in RV considering RV’s are real gas guzzlers.

Usually, storms take out electricity availability and people use gas generators for back-up. Katrina & Sandy seem to have done the opposite to some: electricity available when the gas is in short supply.

OK, but what’s the 0-60?


and e-bus drag races!

woo hooo ! for kiddies!

Bravo Kings Canyon Unified.

Yeah . . . but how much did it cost. These one-off vehicles are just too impractically expensive to be worth it.

My favorite part… green bumpers.