A total of 19 hybrid buses have been awarded to states around the country by Advanced Energy, a non-profit corporation, in the second phase of a four-phase project—the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Bus Project—designed to accelerate full market penetration of the technology. (Earlier post.) Pennsylvania is the second of 11 targeted states to receive the bus; Florida was the first.
Jennings Transportation, a school bus contractor in Nazareth, is adding the hybrid school bus to its fleet and will begin operating the bus for the 2006-2007 school year. Wolfington Body Company, based in Exton, Pa., is the local IC Corporation dealership that is providing the service and support for the new hybrid school bus.
The initial powertrain for the hybrid school bus couples an International VT365 V8 diesel engine with Enova’s Charge Depleting 25/80-kW hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, electric motor and 22.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing the system to utilize both diesel and electric power. Depending on the route, the plug-in hybrid buses are expected to improve fuel economy by 70% - 100%.
The hybrid school buses are also outfitted with a proprietary GPS system called AWARETM Vehicle Intelligence that allows school officials to track the exact location and performance of the school bus via a password-protected site on the Internet.
In Phase 1 of the Hybrid Electric Bus Project, Advanced Energy assessed the technology and organized a buyers’s consortium. The current phase is focused on the limited production, distribution, monitoring and assessment of the buses. Phase 3 will give the school bus market greater confidence in the technology by demonstrating a fleet experience. The goal of Phase 4 of the Hybrid Electric Bus Project is full market penetration of the technology.
We fully believe that this final phase of the project will complete the transformation of the school bus market so that all new school buses will be plug-in hybrids.—Advanced Energy
Hybrid School Bus Project (Advanced Energy)