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Say Hello To The First-Ever All-Electric School Bus

By Andrew Breiner

"Say Hello To The First-Ever All-Electric School Bus"

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The first electric school bus.

The first electric school bus.

CREDIT: PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems

The U.S. has seen electric sports cars, electric vans, SUVs, and public buses, but 2014 will be the first time U.S. drivers see an electric engine outfitted in the familiar black and yellow of a school bus.

Motiv Power Systems and Trans Tech Bus developed the first electric school bus for Kings Canyon Unified School District in Central California. The design is “battery agnostic,” according to a statement from Jim Castelaz, Founder and CEO of Motiv, meaning it isn’t tied to one brand or kind of battery, so it would be able to use new battery technologies, or deal with discontinuation of an old one.

The bus seats up to 32 students, or 24 students and one wheelchair.

Districts can choose range limits of either 80 or 100 miles, depending on the number of battery packs. And with fast-charging technology, a 50 percent charge will take under an hour, though a full charge will take eight.

The price tag will be higher than a diesel bus of the same size, Brian Barrington, National Sales Manager of Trans Tech Bus told Climate Progress, around $175,000, compared with around $75,000. But Trans Tech touted the savings for schools from switching to electric, citing savings of about 16 gallons of fuel a day, or around $11,000 in fuel savings a year, “not to mention maintenance savings.”

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