Electric school buses coming to California in 2014

November 27, 2013

By next year, students in San Joaquin Valley, California will breathe only clean air when they hop on to one of the many electric school buses their district is set to buy. Although all-electric cars have been growing in popularity in the U.S. for quite some time, the technology has never been employed in school buses.

The electric school buses created by Motiv Power Systems can travel 80-100 miles on a single charge, and only takes eight hours to get back to full power, but just one hour to get to half-charge.

King Canyon school bus

The electric school bus designed by Motiv can travel at 65 mph. Image by mnn.com

This ensures that “the buses have enough range to complete daily routes, especially allowing for a short, mid-day charge,” says Lisa Ann Pinkerton, a spokesperson for Motiv.

Initial cost high, but future savings immense

Although the bus is more than double the cost of a regular school bus, it costs half as much to maintain. “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,” says John Phraner, president of TransTech Bus, the school bus manufacturer partnering with Motiv.

It costs about $17 to recharge the electric battery, versus the $50-60 for the 16 gallons of diesel fuel that ordinary buses use. Additionally, “electricity rates are very stable, so school districts will have an easier time planning their operating budgets,” says Pinkerton.

Electric buses won’t get outdated anytime soon

With a capacity of 32 passengers, the buses are “battery-agnostic,” so batteries with better technology can be used as they are developed. Telemetry sensors provide preventive maintenance reports and live route data.

More than half the students who attend school in the United States, use 480,000 school buses to get to and fro school. If the electric bus is a success, and more schools introduce them, school children are likely to breathe easier.

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Category: Automotive, Trends

About the Author ()

A graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, Nupur also has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Nupur is currently trying to be as savvy a cook as she is with a book. She likes watching plays and sunsets. Nupur first lived in Kolkata and then for a decade in Delhi, still her favorite city.

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