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Efficient Drivetrains selected to participate in $4.4M DOE program for electrification of school buses

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. announced that it has been selected as the electric drivetrain provider for a $4.4-million program implemented by the United States Department of Energy in efforts to accelerate the adoption of advanced and alternative fuel vehicles. (Earlier post.) Combined with matching funding from other public and private entities in California, the total project funding represents an electrification program over $9 million.


EDI PowerDrive 7000ev easily integrates into major OEM school bus platforms.

School buses continue to remain the largest mass transit segment in the country, carrying more than twice the number of passengers as the entire US transit and rail segments. Diesel vehicles expose the community and school children to toxic air contaminants, which are known to increase health risks. Upon completing the program, the result is a fleet of affordable, full electric zero-emissions buses that will eliminate thousands of pounds of particulate matter from the air, improving the health of the school children riding the buses, and the greater community.

As part of the program, EDI will be supplying its EDI PowerDrive 7000ev electric drivetrain in conjunction with its EDI Power2E exportable power solution to a leading school bus OEM to develop a fleet of zero-emissions electric-powered school buses with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capabilities.

The bus offers 100+ miles of all electric zero-emissions driving, with the expected full power performance of its traditional diesel counterpart and requires no change to driver behavior to operate. Additionally, fleet managers will have access to real-time fleet tracking and vehicle diagnostics featuring the location, state of charge, and other valuable information utilizing the EDI PowerTracker telematics system.

EDI continues to experience rapid growth and demand in the US bus market due to tighter government mandates and the correlative interest bus companies have in electric fleets. In response to the increased demand, EDI offers a vehicle developers kit and support program to enable bus manufacturers to rapidly create EV vehicle solutions.

The EDI PowerDrive kit offers OEMs a robust framework for rapid EV vehicle solution development. Electrification kits include a high-efficiency drivetrain (EDI PowerDrive), vehicle control and telematics software (EDI PowerSuite), and the training and support infrastructure to enable quicker time to market in offering EV vehicles.

OEMs can also further customize their vehicle solutions with EDI’s Electric Power Export (EDI Power2E) option—the capability to export a range of power directly from the vehicle for use in disaster recovery, tool operation, and V2G applications. By integrating EDI’s drivetrain and vehicle control technology into school bus platforms, OEMs have the ability to build fleets with zero-emissions vehicles while enjoying a significant reduction in fuel costs and ownership costs.

The company has already collaborated with several leading OEMs to electrify buses. In the US, the EDI PowerDrive 7000ev has been integrated into both Type C and D school bus formats.

EDI has also integrated EDI PowerDrive technology into several models of 8-, 10.5-, and 12-meter buses for OEMs such as Ankai, Shaanxi, Xiamen Jinlong, and Yaxing Motor Coach. Schools operating fleets of electric buses benefit from zero-emissions driving, clean-air for their students, and the surrounding community, and significantly reduced fuel costs.



DOE should add another $40 million to subsidize the purchase of all electric school buses. This will save more in health costs over the long run than the initial investment.


Lion School e-bus has built close to 150 similar units locally, (in Saint-Jérome, QC) with equivalent range, using light carbon fiber bodies. Those units are recharged twice a day (after each daily run) and are used in many municipalities North of Montreal.

Initial cost is much higher than equivalent steel/diesel units and larger subsidies are required.


We should have had EV school buses 40 years ago, they go short distance and can recharge in between.


The availability of compact, higher power (250 to 300 KW) lower cost batteries and/or FCs were and is still the main problem. Lighter weight fiber bodies will help with smaller batteries/FCs but not with higher cost for another 10 to 20 years.

There will be an extra price to pay for quieter, cleaner school electrified buses. Many runs will have to be modified/expanded to match the per student transportation cost to steel/diesel units.


The California HVIP subsidy for school e-buses is $220k each. Every company in the game of providng propulsion loses money, so the road to electrified school buses is long indeed.

FWIW: the Adomani company named above is a complete sham. They are school bus salesmen with a stock scheme and they add no value to the design, mfg, or service process. A company of 11 individuals with zero staff technical expertise, they business has booked a few $M of revenue in its existence but has a current market capitalization of $100M (it peaked at over $1.2BILLION). The story behind the company is... well, interesting:

Sadly, the alt fuel / green world sees this sort of nonsense too often. We need to police our own.


Well pardon me: appears that the good folks from EDI (and I do mean that; a capable lot) chose to avoid any references to Adomani, with whom they are obliged to work on the Blue Bird bus project. My apologies; you'll see a virtually identical presser at the Adomani site in which they basically take credit for EDIs work (all BS).

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