Eleven States are First to Receive Hybrid School Buses
Most people might associate "hybrid" with smaller vehicles like the Toyota Prius, but hybrid technologies are now finding their way into large, heavy-duty vehicles, including school buses. IC Corporation, North America's largest school bus manufacturer, unveiled its hybrid electric bus last month and in late July announced that it will provide up to 19 hybrid buses to school districts in 11 states. The buses combine a V8 diesel engine with an 80-kilowatt Hybrid Drive System developed by Enova Systems, Inc. The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing it to use both diesel and electric power in a highly efficient manner. IC Corporation claims that the buses will achieve up to a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency. The company is a subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corporation, which is also developing hybrid utility and delivery trucks. See the IC Corporation press release.
The states that will receive the hybrid buses include Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The hybrid bus development was in response to a request for proposals from Advanced Energy, a non-profit dedicated to pursuing innovative and market-based approaches to energy issues. Advanced Energy was founded in 1980 by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to investigate and implement new technologies for distributed generation, load management, conservation, and energy efficiency. The company was set up and still operates to work with member utilities on energy efficiency and conservation projects. For its hybrid electric bus project, Advanced Energy created a Buyer's Consortium that includes school districts, state energy agencies, and student transportation providers. The project was supported through an $840,000 grant from the State Technologies Advancement Collaborative (STAC), a five-year pilot program funded by DOE. See the Advanced Energy press releases and the STAC Web site.