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IC Corporation and Enova Introduce First Hybrid School Bus; Plug-In Configuration as an Option (updated)

Hybrid school bus.

IC Corporation, North America’s largest school bus manufacturer, unveiled the nation’s first hybrid school bus today at the New York Association of Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) Show.

The company, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation, has partnered with Enova Systems to develop the hybrid, which can deliver about a 40% increase in fuel economy. (Earlier post.)

The post-transmission system configuration. Click to enlarge.

The initial powertrain for the hybrid school bus will couple an International VT365 V8 diesel engine with a post-transmission 80 kW Hybrid Drive System, incorporating a transmission, batteries and an electric motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture.

The company will offer two battery systems—NiMH and PbA—as well as a plug-in configuration that uses an NiMH battery pack. (More information to come.)

The system recovers kinetic energy during regenerative braking, charging the batteries while the bus is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, making the hybrid buses ideal because of the frequent starting and stopping of the bus.

With fuel prices near all-time highs, new innovations in hybrid technology are needed to help customers keep their operating costs lower. We feel that this technology provides significantly improved fuel economy. In addition, even though current International diesel engines produce no visible smoke and minimal emissions, the hybrid program will reduce engine emissions even further.

—Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation

We believe our non-invasive Post Transmission Design, and partnership with IC Corporation, provides opportunities for both future production and the aftermarket retrofit sectors.

—Mike Staran, vice president of marketing for Enova

The first hybrid school bus will be delivered by Leonard Bus Sales in Deposit, N.Y., to Shenendehowa Central School, one of the largest school districts in the state. The deal is pending final approval on a grant to help fund the purchase.

(A hat-tip to Rhett!)


Adrian Akau

Hybrid school buses are certainly welcome. Since buses must run daily during school days, they are like a taxi fleet, only much larger in size and with many stops. Taxi's are already going hybrid in cities such as New York and it makes good sense for the tens of thousands of school buses to do likewise.

It is a good use of our tax dollars.

[email protected]


I am all for Hybrid schoolbuses/taxis/police cars/garbage trucks in large part because they are essentially urban vehicles that get horrible gas mileage. The best way to save the most gas isn't to move someone from of Civic to Prius, it is to move someone from an Excursion into a hybrid Escape or a hybrid Highlander. The thing that drives me nuts is that there are almost no controls on the emissions of lawn mowers, snowmobiles and watercraft. If we would incrementally reduce both types of pollutants, both air and noise, we could have nearly the same level of performance, and get a real improvement in air quality and reduce noise irritations at the same time. I still think the best vehicle for hybridization is the Crown Victoria, how many city planners would kill to double the gas mileage of their police cruiser fleet...


With oil at 70 dollars a barrel today, the cities must also be under economic pressure. I look at city buses and school buses and they must use a lot of gasoline each day.


I spoke with a school administrator recently who told me that their single biggest concern right now are gas prices -- since their funding doesn't fluctutate around oil prices. This could be godsend to a lot of districts.


The oil is too dear!!


This would eliminate much of the emissions involved when a bus is sitting at idle while children are on and off loaded. Not only would they save fuel but it would definitely decrease the exposure for children to diesel fumes without even applying any extra filtration methods.



What does the bus cost, and what does their comprable non-hybrid version cost? What about lifetime maintainance costs? Lifetime fueling costs?

Clearly, reducing fuel consumption reduces the variance of the costs (namely, fuel), which is good for towns. But, can it be shown that this is a cheaper option over the long run?

Charles S

"But, can it be shown that this is a cheaper option over the long run?"

There are too many factors that such a simple question will not get a simple answer.

What if fuel price suddenly crash? What is the true life cycle of the product for the price? How is this product, its software, compare to the current hybrid examples for the passenger cars? ETC. ETC.

Such details will affect the overall performance and results. To me, such projects, including hybrids, are always going to be work-in-progress. The first hybrids on the road seems ancient compare to the latest hybrids just five years later.

If we focus less on how much we can save in the spreadsheets, and look more toward a long term goal, the benefits to health, environment, etc. I think improving the school buses are money well spent.


Lawn Mower emissions.
California was starting to regulate Lawn Mower emissions. Their standards were supposed to go nationwide in 2007 as an option at first. Last I heard is that Briggs and Stratton had killed it. Has anyone heard more?

allen Z

School buses and city transit buses do alot of stop and go. Whether it be at stop lights, or at pickup/dropoff pts. they burn enormous amounts of fuel that is lost in frequent stopping/idling.
Don't forget the police Impala and the up and coming police Dodge Charger!

allen Z

Another point is that busess and other heavy vehicles would benefit from hydraulic hybrids, or air hybrids. An electric regenerative capability on the side would be welcomed too.


Studies conducted in Connecticut over the past few years have indicated that hybrid heavy-duty transit buses achieved very significant savings through reduced wear on the breaks and other non-fuel consumables, and through increased reliability and longer service intervals. This was in addition to the fuel savings, and was most striking in heavily stop-and-go contexts, unsurprisingly.

On the other hand, the GM/Allison hybrid transit bus architecture is considerably more expensive than a conventional diesel bus of equivalent capabilities. This school-bus system, on the face of it, has the potential to *not* cost an extra $200,000 up front (roughly the "hybrid premium" on transit buses), which means that the payback should be more quick and obvious. At least I hope, for ENOVA's sake, that the premium is not that high.

dexter kuykendal

does anyone actually know what the world record is for fuel efficiency? Just so you know, you can check the Guiness Book of World Records, it is 11,500 miles to the gallon. That's right, 11,500 miles to the gallon, set at the annual fuel mileage competition at Sunoco in Japan. Why can't I get a car that gets better than thirty? Even with the sacrifice of fuel efficiency for more power, I think they could find a way.

Ewan Pritchard, P.E.

It is important to remember that ALL of these efforts are beneficial. The Plug-In hybrid school bus that this refers to can make tremendous strides toward all of our goals. The current premium is still higher than the lifetime savings in fuel, but the step that we have made towards producing this vehicle has taken us a large part of the way there. Remember that the Toyota Prius did not save the planet, but it has certainly taken us a long way through both the incremental change and awareness it has brought. The plug-in hybrid project is in a similar boat. Please take the time to talk to your local School Bus agency and ask them how you can help them purchase one - once we get enough purchased, the economics are tremendous, paying the incremental cost within about half of the vehicles useful life - there aren't many environmentally friendly technolgies that offer a financial payback so let's try to keep that in perspective.

Ewan Pritchard, P.E.

I yes, I forgot to post - the answers to most of your finanacial questions were answered in out Business Feasibility study at: www.hybridschoolbus.org/project_results.html

As for the post questioning why you can't buy a vehicle with better than 30 MPG - have you tried a hybrid that you could buy today?

Brian S

The school my son goes to recently purchased a hybrid bus, and it is planned to be in use sometime in February. The problem i have with these buses is that the buses in use now go for 67,000 dollars, and the hybrids are sold for 219,000 dollars.


Senator Joseph Robach seemed to be impressed with what TORVEC is doing in New York with their IVT cutting both fuel consumption and emissions. The transmission also is lighter, has less parts and can be installed on any standard school bus. See for yourselves.



Hydraulics that Work

Torvec has redefined the science of hydraulics. The result is the Torvec Hydraulic Pump and Motor — the major breakthrough behind the Torvec Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT™).

Pump / Motor

These pumps and motors have a place of their own in the industrial pump market. Current hydraulics suffer from critical problems:

* Rotating piston group
* Inefficient valving
* Hydraulic whine
* Heavy housings

Existing pumps need to be large and heavy in order to deliver the desired power. The size and weight prove detrimental in automotive design, as valuable space and weight are eaten up by the hardware.

Torvec innovation led to the design of their own Hydraulic Pump. Torvec has eliminated the rotating piston group (the cylinders are stationary), making the pump tremendously powerful and easy to manufacture.Torvec's patented valving has been integrated to increase efficiency and reduce noise (hydraulic whine).

The challenge was to deliver the necessary power while reducing the size and weight of the pump, using parts that can be manufactured at high volume and low cost. The design solution resulted in a pump with extremely high power density (horsepower to weight ratio), at less than half of the industry standard weight for a comparable hydraulic pump. For example, most 12 cubic inch displacement pumps range from 200 lbs - 270 lbs, while Torvec's 12 cubic inch displacement pump weighs in at approximately 75 lbs.

The reduced size and cylindrical shape of the hydraulic pump allows for easy packaging in automotive applications. The tremendous power delivered by the Torvec Hydraulic Pump also lends itself to many industrial applications. Torvec management is pursuing every market for this truly revolutionary pump.


Torvec's Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) combines the Company's innovative and patented hydraulic pump technology with patented gearing and valving resulting in a technological breakthrough.

As of 2007, after extensive market research of CVTs, 6, 7 & 8-speed automatics we have not found any of these to be:

* Lighter in weight
* Less costly to MFG (fewer parts)
* Easier to control
* More compact
* Less complex

The IVT is completely scalable, from the smallest vehicle to the largest class - 8 truck.

Typical 5-Speed Automatic


Not engine torque limited

No torque converter or start-up clutches

No clutches to engage or disengage during operation

No brake bands

Hydraulic unit is stopped in over-drive

50% fuel improvement at idle when stopped at a red light

As high as 25% fuel economy improvement over an automatic

Dramatic reduction in emissions & CO2

Over 70% fewer parts than CVTs & automatic transmissions

Significantly smaller size than CVTs & automatic transmissions

Designed for reliability and durability

Safety is inherent in design

Maintenance & service costs minimized in design


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