REEDLEY, Calif. — The first of four all-electric school buses from Type A bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus is in service at Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD).
The SSTe recently passed the California Highway Patrol's certification and was deemed legal to begin service in the state, and officials said it also passed the school district’s inspections.
The electric school bus, which was delivered last month, is expected to save Kings Canyon Unified School District over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs, officials said. The other three buses are on their way to the district.
The SSTe utilizes a Ford E-450 cutaway chassis equipped with a Motiv Power Systems electric powertrain.
“KCUSD has taken major strides to reduce diesel particulate emissions by as much as 85%,” said Jason Flores, transportation director. “Going electric with these new green school buses is just one more important step in KCUSD's ongoing portfolio of measures to protect our children, serve our community and be good stewards of our environment. We hope other school districts will follow our lead to protect children from diesel particulates, and protect themselves from rising diesel costs.”
Motiv’s electric Powertrain Control System is installed on the E-450 chassis and other chassis types as a ship-through modification similar to a compressed natural gas up-fit. This enables minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the vehicles, according to the company.
“In this way, we are answering the call of the transportation industry to build reliable electric vehicles that fit seamlessly into the existing truck and bus manufacturing and service infrastructure,” said Jim Castelaz, founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems. “We are absolutely thrilled to see this school bus transporting students without exposing them to diesel exhaust. I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to go to school, clean, zero-emission school buses like this one will be the industry standard.”
The first SSTe buses are partially funded by the AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) administered by the California Air Resources Board. Funding support for the electric school buses was provided through AQIP’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Project and the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). Voucher incentive funding is available through HVIP to any California school district for offsetting the cost of these zero-emission buses. Similar programs are in place in New York City and Chicago.
The Trans Tech/Motiv SSTe school bus is available with 80 or 100 miles of range and holds 25 students, or 18 students with a wheelchair lift and configurable track seating for up to three wheelchairs.
Trans Tech introduced the bus at the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s Summit in Grand Rapids, Mich., last year.