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Pennsylvania Receives Plug-in Hybrid School Bus

The Nazareth Area School District will become the first school district in Pennsylvania to operate the new plug-in hybrid school bus built by IC Corporation and Enova Systems. (Earlier post.)

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



Bud Johns

Outstanding!! School buses, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, they need this technology possibly more than autos! (Yes, I've been a Prius driver for years now) Stop and go. That's where hybrids shine the most. Go for it!


With fixed routes and a GPS integrated into the system, one could do a lot with software to optimize the overall system efficiency. Such as keeping the engine in the sweet spot and rolling into the barn at night with minimum SOC. The GPS could also be used to switch into ZEV mode on a street by street bases to help in areas like Los Angeles that have some corridors with very unhealthy levels of pollutants. Seems like a lot of fleet applications could really benefit from the integration of GPS into the hybrid's brain.

I wonder if they considered the Zebra battery technology for this application. From what I've seen, that seems like a good fit for buses.


I have to wonder though, if it will be equipped with an audible warning device when approching a stop with children at it? Hybrids are quiet as mice when they are breaking and the motor is off. Kids don't tend to pay much attention to their surroundings and I can see a potential accident in this environment.


Bud Johns

Larry, everyone gets used to the quiet. I had to do that in parking lots with the Prius, you have to give little "courtesy toots" from time to time. On the more humerous side, we could put stereo speakers on the outside of the vehicle and play a recording of a roaring diesel........

tom deplume

This is a situation where the skill and attentiveness of the bus driver is important. As for being aware of an approaching bus the squeal of the brakes are noisy enough to alert waiting children. It is a rare bus that does not have squeeky brakes.


Yesterday I unfortunately startled the cr@p out of some poor pedestrian when I zipped by on my electric scooter. I'd like to have a second horn button that produced the sound of a galloping horse.

Reality Czech

Galloping horse?  That's inspired.

Coke Machine

I just spoke with the Vehicle Maintenace Department at the School District of Manatee County where I work. They said the busses diesel engines are never off, and that the hybrid acts as a boost during acceleration, so our kids won't have to worry about the silence. There was a contest to name the busses and the winners were LIMPIO which means clean in Spanish and WOUK for the inventor of hybrid technology. Additionally, the School District of Manatee County currently uses B20 to power all of their busses, and is looking to increase B% as vehicle warranties allow.


Does anyone have a high resolution photo of a plug-in hybrid electric school bus? If so, please email asap to: [email protected]. Thanks so much!


Students in florida are riding on the first two hybrid plug in school buses in the U.S. The buses use both a diesel engine and electric motor, and they plug into a power socket at night to charge the batteries. The Manatee School District bought the buses from Navistar, a diesel truck company. This week, another bus will be delivered to a school in Pennsylvania. The first 19 buses cost over $200,000, which is more than double the cost of a regular school bus. At that price, the buses won't pay for themselves over their lives, based on fuel savings. However, analysts say that the plug in hybrid buses may drop in price, so that they cost only $40,000 more than regular buses. At that price, they will pay for themselves in just a few years with lower maintenance and fuel costs.

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Account Deleted

well hybrids have really quite engines which is barely noticeable which is prone to accidents, but its earth friendliness is good for this type of vehicle..

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