COLUMBUS, Ohio — IC Bus unveiled its new IC Electric Bus ChargE, a concept school bus, at the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) trade show on Tuesday.
Developed with its partner, Volkswagen Truck & Bus, IC Bus designed the ChargE to give customers a zero-emissions school bus option while lowering the total cost of ownership and offering user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance, according to the school bus manufacturer.
IC Bus expects to launch the first ChargE unit in 2019.
The concept electric school bus incorporates a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus that is created to run quietly and not produce emissions, and can be built to a school bus customer’s specific requirements. The range of the ChargE can exceed 120 miles, according to IC Bus, while the powertrain can deliver up to 260 kW (about 349 peak horsepower).
“We’re proud to introduce our electric powertrain concept vehicle engineered to meet the demands of the 21st century school bus industry,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager at IC Bus. “As battery technology evolves, we continue to explore a variety of electric technologies to meet our customers’ needs in the final design of the CE Series electric-powered school bus.”
Reed also noted that electric school bus acquisition is becoming more attainable with the cost of batteries dropping, and that this trend is accelerating.
“Our customers want choices that are environmentally friendly, to serve their communities, and enjoy the [financial] benefits,” she added.
At the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, Georgia, in September, Navistar and Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group announced plans to develop an electric-powered, medium-duty vehicle, also expected to launch in 2019, for the U.S. and Canadian markets.
The ChargE concept vehicle represents the second electric powertrain vehicle coming out of the alliance built with a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus.
“We are embracing technology and innovation that make drivers safer and more satisfied, while providing the school bus industry with vehicles that are safe, reliable, and efficient,” Reed said.