Alternative Fuels

Electric school bus production to increase with $7.3M powertrain investment

Posted on July 3, 2014
Most recent investor Gary Magness gives a thumbs-up while driving the Trans Tech Bus SST-e all-electric school bus, powered by Motiv Power Systems. Photo by PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems

Most recent investor Gary Magness gives a thumbs-up while driving the Trans Tech Bus SST-e all-electric school bus, powered by Motiv Power Systems. Photo by PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems

FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Motiv Power Systems raised $7.3 million in growth capital from investors led by Colorado's Magness Investment Group. The funding comes as the second Motiv-equipped Trans Tech all-electric school bus is delivered to Kings Canyon Unified School District in Reedley, California.

“We expect to fulfill orders for 20 this year, an estimate that may reach 100 in 2015,” said Motiv Power Systems Founder and CEO Jim Castelaz.

"Motiv has cracked the code on electric trucks," said Gary Magness, manager of the Magness Investment Group. "We are impressed with how Motiv's approach leverages the existing truck and bus builder ecosystem to achieve scalability. I'm pleased to be a part of this revolution in trucking that brings environmental sustainability and significant fuel savings to an industry that's the backbone of our economy."

The Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) is unique in the industry as a single product suite that can electrify any bus or truck chassis with a variety of commercially available battery packs and motors, company officials said. The ePCS, battery packs and motor are installed to replace the engine and transmission of a new incomplete chassis such as the Ford E-450 in a ship-through modification. This process, common in the truck industry, is similar to a compressed natural gas ship-through modification and means minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the final vehicle. Existing bus and truck builders who already use these incomplete chassis can build and sell electric versions of their existing bus and truck models.

"It's an honor to have the support of an investor like Mr. Magness," Castelaz said. "Not only does he see the potential in the market we are addressing, he understands our approach and believes in our vision of breaking the complete dependence trucks and buses currently have on fossil fuel."

Related Topics: alternative fuels

Comments ( 1 )
  • Ken Potter

     | about 3 years ago

    Huge progress! All school bus configurations can benefit from increased safety using lighter weight systems, and every type of drive system can be applied. Electric drive systems are ideal for this application, and will ultimately succeed. This advance sets the stage for electric systems to eclipse all fossil fuel drive school buses within ten years, including retrofits.

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