The new Mega BEAST Type D school bus is expected to roll off production lines in California and West Virginia next year. - Image: Wes Platt/Canva

The new Mega BEAST Type D school bus is expected to roll off production lines in California and West Virginia next year.

Image: Wes Platt/Canva

Time and again, GreenPower Motor Company’s Michael Perez has heard the concerns about batteries on electric school buses limiting trips to 150 miles or less on a full charge.

But this week at the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) trade show, Perez helped introduce the world to the new Mega BEAST Type D school bus.

“Range anxiety is probably one of the biggest concerns you hear when you talk to customers that are exploring electric options,” he told School Bus Fleet in the exhibit hall at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Perez is GreenPower’s vice president of school bus, contracts and grants. He directed attention to the fact that the Mega BEAST boasts 12 battery packs compared to six on the standard BEAST.

The 40-foot Type D bus provides a range of up to 300 miles via a 387 kWh battery pack, reportedly the longest range and biggest battery pack currently in the school bus market. The Mega BEAST can seat up to 90 passengers, with standard features including:

  • Air ride suspension.
  • ABS disk brakes.
  • Spacious pass-through storage.

“The all-electric, purpose-built BEAST has established the new standard of performance, safety, and sustainability in the school bus market,” Perez said in a statement. “Today, with the introduction of the Mega BEAST, GreenPower also sets a new industry standard in range and battery size. The extended range of the Mega BEAST will help more school districts make the switch from NOx-emitting diesel buses to the GreenPower all-electric, zero-emission option that provides a safer, cleaner, and healthier ride for school kids.”

The added battery power increases the BEAST’s range, said GreenPower President Brendan Riley. But it also helps with climbing hills and making the vehicles more desirable for vehicle-to-grid energy storage.

“V2G is becoming a common-sense tool that helps to create a more reliable grid, promote clean energy, and reduce costs,” Riley said. “The larger battery of the Mega BEAST has the ability to provide for a more healthy and stable electric grid and community stability in areas where it is deployed and V2G is used.”

The Mega BEAST is expected to start production in GreenPower’s California and West Virginia facilities in 2024.

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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