HIGH POINT, N.C. — Pupil transportation operations are increasing their efforts to operate environmentally-friendly school buses. Thomas Built Buses reports that it has received more than three dozen orders for its new Saf-T-Liner C2e diesel-electric hybrid bus.
Thomas has been delivering C2e units to customers since July 2009. Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District (ISD) is one district that recently added Thomas C2e buses to its fleet. The district was awarded a $1,635,256 grant from the Department of Energy Clean Cities program, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to fund the purchase of 25 units.
The federal funds are part of a $13.2 million grant being administered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The grant money will help the region fund 382 fuel-efficient vehicles and 11 refueling stations.
“We are excited that the incremental cost is fully funded, allowing us to add the C2e hybrid buses to our fleet,” said Michael Horsley, director of fleet operations for Forth Worth ISD. “We try to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and this grant allows us to not only expand our operations but do so in a way that delivers cleaner emissions and improved fuel economy.”
Thomas Built developed the C2e from a prototype that reduced emissions and improved fuel economy by 30 percent or more, the company said. The Saf-T-Liner C2e also reduces brake wear and component maintenance.
The hybrid is powered by a Cummins diesel engine, an Eaton transmission and an electric motor developed jointly by Thomas Built, Eaton Corp. and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. The regenerative configuration allows schools to operate the new buses without adding infrastructure with plug-in recharging stations.
“By providing groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products, we are able to deliver on our mission to minimize the environmental impact of our transportation solutions,” said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “With products like the C2e, Thomas is making it possible for school districts to be more environmentally responsible as hybrids are incorporated into fleets nationwide.”