Espar introduces school bus heater kits
Espar Heater Systems unveiled its E-Guardian PLUS heater kits for school bus applications. The E-Guardian PLUS 12 kW kit comes with the M-II heater, which includes up to six operating speeds. The E-Guardian PLUS 5 kW kit includes Espar’s Hydronic D5 heater with the highest top-end heat delivery available, officials said. Each E-Guardian PLUS Series package includes Espar’s Multi-Max controller with PC-programmable features, including automatic run times and a skip scheduler, allowing management to select holiday and vacation days.
Blue Bird, Synovia Solutions launch fleet management system
Blue Bird Corp. and Synovia Solutions have partnered to offer Blue Bird Connect, a GPS fleet management system. Officials said customers can now order new Blue Bird school buses from the factory with Blue Bird Connect, and it can be upfitted to an existing fleet. The system offers core functionality, including comparative analysis, student tracking, a parent portal, safety reporting, engine diagnostics and fuel economy tracking. Blue Bird Connect also includes unique features, such as integrated driver time and attendance with planned versus actual comparisons.
IC Bus unit with Cummins ISB debuts
IC Bus unveiled its CE Series school bus with the Cummins ISB 6.7-liter engine. The OEM announced in September that it would offer the ISB in its CE Series buses and began taking orders in October. This is the first IC Bus school bus with selective catalytic reduction emissions aftertreatment. The CE Series now offers a selection of three mid-range diesel engines: the MaxxForce 7, MaxxForce DT and Cummins ISB6.7.
Restraint features behind-the-seat connections
E-Z-On Products Inc. of Florida’s new “Houdini-proof” MAX Vest, designed specifically for school bus use, will hold a child securely in place until he or she reaches their final destination, according to company officials. The vest features a seat buckle that is designed to lock easily, an adjustable zipper fitting and a below-seat safety hook. Additionally, all connections are located behind the seat so “curious fingers” can’t loosen them, company officials said.
Retractor meets WC18 standard
Q’Straint has released a new wheelchair retractor tie-down system that meets the higher-strength requirements of WC18 that take effect in December 2015. Company officials said that the QRT-360 is the first four-point, heavy-duty, fully automatic retractable tie-down system built to perform successfully in a 30-mph frontal crash when the user of a powered wheelchair is traveling in a motor vehicle while using a commercially available crashworthy lap belt that must be used in the frontal-impact test conducted of wheelchairs under WC19. (See story here for more on the WC18 and WC19 standards.)
Comprehensive HVAC systems for small to large buses
Thermo King’s StudentAIRE solutions include the Slimline Rooftop Air Conditioning System (pictured), which measures approximately 6 inches above the roof, and it can be installed in the middle of the bus for more uniform air flow. The BE-550 lightweight bulkhead evaporator features three-speed blowers that provide quick temperature pull-down inside the bus to maximize passenger comfort while reducing interior noise levels. The SA-400 split air-conditioning system delivers cooling for small and mid-size vehicles, while the SA-800 split air-conditioning system offers the same benefits for mid-size and larger wheelbase vehicles. All units will be available for order in the first quarter of 2014, officials said.
Trans Tech unveils new all-electric school bus
Type A school bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus has partnered with Motiv Power Systems to develop a new all-electric school bus: the SSTe. The bus is built on a Ford E-450 chassis, utilizing the all-battery, all-chassis compatible Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS), which allows for compatiblity with any battery currently on the market or available in the future, officials said. Passenger capacity is up to 32 students, or 24 students and one wheelchair, and the bus is available with range options of 80 or 100 miles.
LED lights’ optics boost brightness
SoundOff Signal displayed several new LED lights for school buses, including a 7-inch round amber LED turn light and a 7-inch round amber LED turn light with an arrow. Officials said these FA Series lights feature advanced optical technology that exceeds all FMVSS and SAE requirements, and specifically engineered optics boost light output and brightness. The lens with a UV inhibitor is designed to prevent sun fading. The input voltage for these lights is 9-16 VDC, and each comes with a five-year warranty.
New timer for engine pre-heaters
Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America has released its new SmarTemp Control fx Timer, which is designed to work exclusively with Webasto’s engine pre-heaters. Company officials said that the new timer is easy to program for repeat heating duration times. Show attendees had the opportunity to examine the SmarTemp Control fx and explore its functionality and features with a portable display in Webasto’s booth.
Cloud-based management tool
Tyler Technologies Inc. launched Traversa, a school transportation management solution with a suite of applications in one system. The core functionality of Traversa includes bus routing, trip and activity management, work orders, fleet maintenance and GPS tracking. Traversa is being offered as a cloud-based solution administered by Tyler’s staff. The product’s HTML5 foundation provides a touch-screen interface that has been optimized for tablet and traditional desktop user experiences.