Electric School Bus EV

Over two years after its introduction, the first all-electric school bus in the US has gone into service. Produced by the partnership between Trans Tech and Motiv, the SST-e school bus can carry up to 25 students, has a range of 80 or 100 miles (depending on options) and can save a school district over $10,000 a year in running costs. Those range numbers are down from the concept bus (which was going to offer 100 or 130 miles), but it should still be plenty for most of the morning and afternoon runs to pick up the be-backpacked.

The powertrain comes from Motiv Power Systems and the buses are built by Trans Tech Bus, with the first unit making its debut in the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California. The school district has ordered four of the SST-e EVs, with help from the California Air Resources Board, which contributed $400,000 towards the project.

School buses have long been a target for greening, since most of the current fleet burns not-so-clean diesel. A popular improvement in the past has been anti-idling campaigns, but a bus without a tailpipe is much cleaner than a bus with a tailpipe that is off some of the time. The SST-e uses a Ford E450 cutaway chassis (the concept was based on a Smith electric truck). The first plug-in hybrid school bus entered service in the US in 2007, also in California.
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America's Only All-Electric School Bus Transports Students, Saving California School District Over $10,000 a Year in Fuel and Maintenance

Powered by Motiv Power Systems and built by Trans Tech Bus, this new zero-emission school bus means students can breathe easy

The new all-electric bus is expected to save Kings Canyon Unified School District over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs, while also eliminating student exposure to particulate air emissions. The new bus is powered by Motiv Power Systems. (PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems)

The new all-electric bus is expected to save Kings Canyon Unified School District over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs, while also eliminating student exposure to particulate air emissions. The new bus is powered by Motiv Power Systems. ...

FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. 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.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140303/SF75117)

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 popular 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. Motiv will feature an electric E450 cutaway chassis at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, IN March 5-7, at booth # 633.

"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."

Motiv's electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) is the only solution in the truck and bus market to make medium- to heavy-duty vehicles all-electric with a variety of commercially-available batteries and motors. The Motiv ePCS is installed on the E450 chassis and other chassis types, as a ship-through modification similar to a Compressed Natural Gas up-fit. This enables minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the vehicles.

"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."

The first SST-e buses are partially funded by the AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) administered by the California Air Resources Board. Funding support for the electric school buses was provided through AQIP's Advanced Technology Demonstration Project and the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). Voucher incentive funding is available through HVIP to any California school district for offsetting the cost of these zero-emission buses. Similar programs are in place in New York City and Chicago. When the fuel cost savings are combined with vehicle financing, these school buses are available at or below the cost of conventional buses.

"I'm proud of the accomplishment that Motiv and TransTech has made in forwarding our electric drive effort into the School Bus industry," said John Corr, a member of the investment group that owns Trans Tech Bus.

The Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e school bus is available with 80 or 100 miles of range and holds 25 students or 18 students with a wheelchair lift and configurable track seating for up to 3 wheelchairs.

ABOUT MOTIV POWER SYSTEMS

Founded in 2009 and based in Foster City, CA, Motiv Power Systems designs and builds a flexible electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) for the commercial truck, bus and refuse industries. Motiv's ePCS works with a wide variety of batteries and motors. This flexibility allows traditional truck chassis OEMs to assemble electric trucks on their current diesel truck assembly lines. Motiv's ePCS is available for medium and heavy duty commercial truck applications including box trucks, flat/stake beds, refrigerated trucks, utility/service bodies, shuttle buses, delivery vehicles and refuse trucks.