American Electric Vehicles (AEV) – a Colorado-based company co-founded by Dr. Dan Rivers – is developing an 18-passenger electric shuttle bus with the intention of eventually selling it in the U.S., China and India. Rivers, who co-founded the lithium-ion battery company Compact Power Inc., announced that the 21-foot eShuttle prototype has concluded efficiency testing in China and claims that the bus' 88.5 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack provides 83 miles of range. That is, without the A/C unit pumping.

AEV is prepping for production of the eShuttle and hopes that the first one will roll off the line by the end of June. The company intends to install a larger battery pack in the production version and will switch to a more advanced electric motor before launching the shuttle. When Green Car Congress prodded Rivers about AEV's choice to focus on electrified shuttles, he responded:
We looked at all the opportunities, and which part of the market is ready for EVs today. We zeroed in on electric shuttles for the fleet market for two main reasons. First, predictable routes. Second, lots of driving, intensive use. Predictability and intensity.
AEV hopes to produce 50 eShuttles in 2011 and approximately 300 in 2012. The company will release pricing information and detailed specs at a later date.

[Source: Green Car Congress]