Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), in California’s San Joaquin Valley, leads the nation as the only school district using an all-electric school bus to transport students.
The all-electric school bus is a result of collaboration between Motiv Power Systems and Trans Tech Bus Company and the California Air Resources Board, which contributed $400,000 cost-saving vouchers to the ambitious project.
KCUSD ordered four buses from Trans Tech Bus, featuring electric powertrains from Motiv Power Systems.
The new electric school bus passed all KCUSD and California Highway Patrol inspections and certifications, making it the first modern electric bus to be approved for student transportation by any state.
Although the initial cost of an electric bus is much higher than the traditional gas-guzzling bus, electric buses offer long term savings such as lifelong fuel and maintenance costs. The new electric bus is expected to save KCUSD over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs.
Called the SST-e, this electric version of Trans Tech’s SST model was unveiled in October 2013 and delivered last month. The SST-e utilizes a Ford E450 cutaway chassis equipped with a Motiv electric powertrain. It’s equipped with four or five battery packs that allow for a range of 80 to 100 miles.
The Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e school bus holds 25 students or 18 students with a wheelchair lift and configurable track seating for up to 3 wheelchairs.
Thanks to a federal highway program, three more electric buses are on their way to the Kings Canyon district and similar programs are in the works in both Chicago and New York.
“KCUSD has taken major strides to reduce diesel particulate emissions by as much as 85 percent” said Jason Flores, Transportation Director for KCUSD. “Going electric with these new green school buses is just one more important step in KCUSD’s ongoing portfolio of measures to protect our children, serve our community, and be good stewards of our environment. We hope other school districts will follow our lead to protect children from diesel particulates and protect themselves from rising diesel costs.”
“In this way, we are answering the call of the transportation industry to build reliable EV’s that fit seamlessly into the existing truck and bus manufacturing and service infrastructure,” said Jim Castelaz, Founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems. “We are absolutely thrilled to see this school bus transporting students without exposing them to diesel exhaust. I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to go to school clean, zero-emission school buses like this one will be the industry standard.”[source: Green Tech Media]