HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses has developed and begun evaluating a prototype of a hybrid Saf-T-Liner C2 school bus.
The prototype is powered by a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine, an Eaton Corp. transmission and an electric motor. It was developed jointly by Thomas Built, Eaton and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
Officials said that the vehicle should reduce emissions and improve fuel economy by 30 percent or more.
“Thomas Built is very committed to advancing hybrid technology in our school buses,” President and CEO John O’Leary said. “That said, we want to make sure we have a well-tested and reliable product before bringing it to market.”
The powertrain used in the hybrid bus has been refined for more than two years in a delivery van application developed by Freightliner Custom Chassis and Eaton. Approximately 200 of those vehicles have been built and are in operation.
Officials said that testing of the hybrid vans has revealed a fuel savings of 300 to 450 gallons per year, based on an annual mileage of 10,000.
The hybrid prototype will be unveiled at pupil transportation industry events this year, including the STN Expo in Reno, Nev., in July and the NAPT Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in October.