Alternative Fuels

California Highway Patrol approves all-electric school bus

Posted on August 20, 2014

MILPITAS, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has approved the Adomani all-electric converted Blue Bird school bus for transportation.

Adomani and the Gilroy Unified School District collaborated to produce a solar fueled, all-electric, 50 passenger, Type D school bus. CHP approval was the final step before the bus was cleared to transport students, according to Adomani. The converted school bus makes its debut this school year.

The Gilroy Unified School District provided Adomani with a 2007 Blue Bird All American diesel school bus, and by replacing the engine with its patented electric conversion kit, Adomani returned the bus as a plug-in electric. The bus has an overall range of 40 miles in between charges, tailored to meet the district’s need of a 22-mile route. Adomani can supply a school or commercial bus with enough battery power to travel 100 miles.

Adomani has chosen to utilize the same plug as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, making its buses adaptable to universal charging stations. The district’s charging station has been supplemented with solar panels, making the bus a true zero-emission vehicle.

Verbal approval of Adomani’s converted school bus came one day after initial inspection, company officials said. Recent Adomani board member addition and school bus industry expert Jim Reynolds said, “That is by far the fastest I have seen approval come in. I was anticipating a few months of processing.”

This is Adomani’s second converted Blue Bird school bus. The technology company has created a conversion kit specialized for the All American Blue Bird school bus that can be installed in a couple weeks. Ninety percent of the OEM parts are retained, allowing mechanics to remain familiar with parts such as the transmission, compressor, radiator and alternator.

Additionally, Edward Monfort, Adomani’s founder and chief technology officer, announced the company’s plan to move its headquarters from Florida to California within the next few months. “After the conversion for Gilroy, moving to California seemed like the right fit, though we plan to retrofit vehicles throughout the country,” Monfort said.

Monfort also commented on his transition into the bus industry. “I am thrilled to be working with school buses and to have an opportunity to enter a market that can improve lives and the environment,” he said.

Adomani has converted a range of fuel-powered vehicles to hybrids and all-electrics, including a Ford Mustang, Ford F150, Ford Ranger, and a Dodge RAM 1500. After completing the All American Blue Bird conversion, Adomani is looking to other fleet vehicles for conversion opportunities.

Related Topics: alternative fuels, Blue Bird Corp., California

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