Alternative Fuels

Electric School Bus Hits the Road

Posted on January 1, 2002

The Mid-Del Technology Center in Oklahoma City has received an electric school bus from Solectria Corp. of Woburn, Mass. The bus will be used to transport students to high school and on activity trips, as well as for adult technician training classes. According to Sandy Stephens, the director of business and industry services for the Mid-Del Technology Center, the purpose of the project is to test the practicality of the alternative-power system in a school bus, while promoting public awareness of electric vehicles. The vehicle involved in the project is a battery-powered Blue Bird school bus with a 66-passenger capacity, a range of 60 miles and a top speed of more than 55 miles per hour. Officials at the school system will monitor the bus’ effectiveness with daily logs, comparing it to conventionally powered school buses and evaluating its environmental impact. The project is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, with matching funds from the Mid-Del Technology Center. The school bus includes a 220kW Solectria AC induction drive system with regenerative braking, maintenance-free lead acid batteries and an onboard charging unit. The onboard unit can fully charge the bus overnight or the bus can be partly recharged when parked between routes during the day. Contacts: Solectria Corp., www.solectria.com; Sandy Stephens, [email protected]

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