Innovations in diesel engine technology are powering some of lowest school bus emissions in the industry. Manufacturers such as Detroit and Cummins are leading the charge with groundbreaking advancements that are ensuring clean air for drivers and students, and more efficient, easier-to-maintain buses for fleet managers and maintenance technicians.

“We are seeing a whole new level of engine technology with these new models. Never before have diesel engines been cleaner, more fuel efficient or easier to maintain,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “These new engines have emissions on par with alternative-fuel engines and reliability, efficiency and fuel economy exceeding the competition."

Two of these new engines hitting the market next year are the highly anticipated Detroit™ DD5™ and DD8™ engines. These engines will deliver power, performance and best-in-class fuel economy and reliability, not to mention easier serviceability. The DD5 in particular features top-load oil and fuel filters and the longest service intervals in its class with up to 45,000-mile change intervals for oil and fuel filters.* 

“This is an exciting time for the school bus industry as we welcome state-of-the-art advancements for diesel fuel – the fuel of choice for more than 90% of school districts,” said Edgerly. “With the development of these new engines, our partners at Detroit have engineered the best engine for the market today, from the ground up.”

One of the biggest pain points for diesel technicians has been maintenance on the aftertreatment system. Now, through state-of-the-art variable cam-phasing technology, the aftertreatment system allows additional heat to enter the exhaust stream, enabling efficient operation of the aftertreatment system in low speed, stop-and-go operations. 

“The maintenance of diesel engines has been drastically improved,” said Kary Schaefer, general manager, marketing and strategy, Daimler Trucks North America. “The engines themselves not only require less maintenance than their predecessors, but through one of the most advanced connectivity platforms in the industry, Detroit™ Connect Virtual Technician℠ remote diagnostic service, more information than ever is now available to technicians regarding how and when to service their buses and engines.”  

Touted as a game-changer, the Virtual Technician helps fleets make informed maintenance decisions. Virtual Technician is backed by the experts at the Detroit Customer Support Center, who provide immediate information on fault codes via email or notification via the Detroit Connect portal. Critical faults are sent the Detroit Customer Support Center, where an expert analyzes the fault event and provides additional detail to the fleet. Within minutes, the driver or fleet manager knows the cause of the code, the level of severity and recommendations for fault resolution and the parts to fix the problem.

“Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service provides the most in-depth and advanced engine diagnostics and intelligence in the industry,” says Schaefer. “As a fleet manager, you can expect that this system will make your buses easier to maintain, more cost-effective to service and keep your fleet running at maximum uptime.” 

*Either 18 months or 1,500 hours, whichever comes sooner.