SOUTH HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Operators of small school buses will soon have the option of utilizing hybrid technology.
Collins Bus Corp. has entered an exclusive agreement with Azure Dynamics Corp. to develop Type A school buses with hybrid-electric systems.
Collins, which markets Type As under the Collins Bus, Mid Bus and Corbeil brands, will offer the hybrid technology as an option for buses built on the Ford E-450 chassis.
The optional hybrid drivetrain can achieve up to a 40-percent increase in fuel economy and up to 30-percent reductions in maintenance costs and greenhouse emissions, the companies said.
Collins Bus Corp. President Kent Tyler said that some of the company’s distributors have been looking for a hybrid solution for customers.
“We are excited about being able to soon offer a solution to this demand,” Tyler said. “Azure brings expertise and a proven system to the school bus market.”
Tyler said that the hybrid option is expected to become available sometime this summer.
Azure CEO Scott Harrison said that Collins buses are an ideal fit for Azure’s technology.
“Type A school buses are especially prevalent in urban school fleets, where they make frequent starts and stops and spend significant time idling,” Harrison said. “These characteristics are all part of Azure’s technology focus, so Collins customers will experience significant return on investment.”
Collins has been working on other green initiatives in recent years, such as recycling waste material, reducing water consumption and reducing paint solvent emissions.