The NAPA Valley Unified School District (NAPA) in California has purchased the first NEXBUS, the only hybrid electric Type A school bus available in North America. NEXBUS is produced by Collins Bus Corporation and features Azure Dynamics Balance Hybrid Electric drivetrain. (Earlier post.)
NAPA plans to put the NEXBUS in use for special needs transportation where it will have a busy schedule and the district can realize the full benefits of the technology.
NAPA has previous experience with Azure technology when we used Solectria’s [Azure’s predecessor company] full electric drive technology on a larger bus. That bus ran for three and a half years without a single down day, so we’re hoping for similar success this time around.—Ralph Knight, NAPA Director of Transportation
Collins has aggressively promoted the NEXBUS including at the recent School Transportation News expo in Reno, Nevada where two of the vehicles were shown with one bus offering ride and drive experiences to dozens of interested school fleet managers.
With more than 40 years experience, Collins is the premier manufacturer of small school buses in North America. The partnership with Azure allows Collins to offer the proprietary Balance Hybrid Electric drivetrain as an option on school buses built on Ford’s E-450 chassis. School buses typically have frequent starts and stops and significant idle time picking up and dropping off children and while waiting in the queue. The Azure technology will help to significantly reduce fuel usage and emissions under these conditions.
The bus was delivered via A-Z Bus Sales, Inc in Colton, Ca. NAPA received funding support from Prop 1B and from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.