No, an electric school bus isn’t as exciting as an electric Porsche or Lotus, but in the grandscheme of things, it’s probably a lot more important. Case in point – a fleet of suchbuses are scheduled to hit the road in California next year, with each vehicle saving its school district a claimed 16 gallons (60.5 L) of fuel per day, adding up to US$11,000 in fuel savings per year.
The battery-powered SST-e buses were created in a collaboration between school bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus and Motiv Power Systems. Kings Canyon Unified School District, in the San Joaquin Valley, will be the recipient of the first vehicles off the line.
The SST-e is built around the existing Ford E450 truck chassis, utilizing Motiv’s electric Powertrain Control System. That system is said to be compatible with a wide variety of chassis and battery types, meaning that few modifications are required to the stock chassis, and that better-performing batteries can be swapped in as technology advances.
Although little is available in the way of specs, the buses will have a range of 80 or 100 miles (129 or 161 km), depending on whether they’re equipped with four or five battery packs – any one of those packs can be replaced without having to replace all the others. The batteries can be charged to 50 percent capacity in less than an hour, while a full charge takes eight hours. They utilize a 3-phase fast charging system that “requires minimal building modifications and no expensive charging stations.”
The Type A bus can carry up to 32 students, or 24 students and one wheelchair. Thanks to a built-in telemetry system, the location of each bus can be monitored remotely, as can its maintenance needs and its driver’s performance.
Trans Tech Bus and Motiv Power Systems Partner On New All-Electric School Bus
Type A electric (EV) school buses to reduce fuel and maintenance costs for school districts, while decreasing regional diesel particulate emissions
FOSTER CITY, Calif., Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — New all-electric Type A school buses will hit the road in 2014, due to a collaboration between Trans Tech Bus, and Motiv Power Systems. Called the SST-e, the first all-electric school bus developed in the partnership will go to Kings Canyon Unified School District, in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The bus is funded in part by the California Air Resources Board AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program Electric School Bus Demonstration Project. The new SST-e bus will be revealed today at the 2013 National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Annual Summit inGrand Rapids, MI booth # 129.
The buses are built on Ford E450 chassis, utilizing the all-battery, all-chassis compatible Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS).The ePCS is installed as a Ford ship-through chassis modification similar to a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) modification, enabling minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the school buses. Passenger capacity for the Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e all-electric school buses is up to 32 students for this Type A bus, or 24 students and 1 wheelchair.
“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,” said John Phraner President of Trans Tech. “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.”
The SST-e buses are built on Ford E450 chassis, using the Motiv ePCS, which is compatible with a wide variety of chassis and batteries. The ePCS allows buses to be compatible with any battery currently on the market or available in the future. Additionally, one pack can be replaced without replacing all the batteries on the vehicle. The new all-electric SST-e school buses are available with four or five battery packs, providing districts with range options of 80 or 100 miles.
With Motiv’s onboard fast charging technology the buses can reach 50 percent charge in under an hour and full charge in 8 hours. Motiv’s low-cost 3-phase fast charging, requires minimal building modifications and no expensive charging stations. The buses are also equipped with telemetry systems, providing real-time route data and preventive maintenance reports to fleet managers. The cloud stored data can be viewed on the web and on smart phones, helping them manage improved driver performance and safety management.
“Our system is battery agnostic, it ‘future-proofs’ fleets against changes in the battery market, such as discontinued batteries or future improved technology,” said Jim Castelaz Founder and CEO of Motiv. “This makes a Motiv equipped bus the most flexible and customizable all-electric powertrain for trucks on the market. We are thrilled the ePCS will be assisting schools get the most out of their transportation dollars, while at the same time educating children on clean transportation.”