School kids can now hop on to the electric-vehicle bandwagon with TransTech’s all-electric bus.
The 42-passenger bus looks similar to the standard school bus, though it runs on a pair of 278-volt lithium ion batteries that power its 120kW (161 horespower) electric motor. The bus has a range of about 120 miles on a single charge, and its top speed caps off at about 50 miles per hour – which is more than enough for most routes.
Dan Daniels, president of Trans Tech, states, “The eTrans will be ideal for short, defined, repetitive routes. In addition, given that most school buses operate during the day, school districts and bus contractors will be able to take advantage of lower, off-peak electricity rates by recharging their fleets at night, when demand is at its lowest.”
Additionally, the auxiliary unit on the eTrans that runs the heating and air conditioning unit will use compressed natural gas or propane.
"America's 480,000 school buses burn as estimated 822 million gallons of diesel fuel every year at a cost of nearly $3.2 billion," said Bryan Hansel, president and CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles (who have partnered with TransTech). "The Newton operates at one-third to one-half the cost of a traditional diesel, creating significant fuel cost savings for school districts in addition to the clear environmental and health benefits of all-electric, zero-emission transportation for students."
The bus will be shipped by early 2012. No word on cost yet, though the company says the bus will be priced competitively.