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Two of the first 19 hybrid school buses have just been delivered to Manatee County, Florida as part of the Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project. Designed to test the viability of the new buses, a hybrid and a control bus will travel the same route, alternating every two weeks, for a period of two years which should equate to more than a million miles of service each.

An array of different measures will be tracked via a GPS system including acceleration, deceleration, braking, fuel economy and more. It is hoped that fuel economy improvements of 70 to 100 percent will be realized on the plug-in hybrid vehicles plus a reduction in emissions of up to 90 percent. The hybrids will join the district's fleet which includes about 250 biodiesel-powered buses.

Analysis: These buses are manufactured by IC Corporation which has called on Enova Systems who we've reported on before to produce their hybrid-electric drivetrains. Plug-in electric technology should work well in this case as the buses return to the same depot every night where they can be charged. At $225,000 each, these buses aren't cheap, but their emissions are also expected to be 90 percent lower!


[Source: Bradenton Herald]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      What does a typical new school bus with air conditioning (a necessity in florida) cost? Given the service life of the buses, theres a chance that these are actually cost effective, given the ever rising fuel costs.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks Jon, you made my point. I think it's awesome that Companies like International are looking into this technology, but the price has to drop like a rock, or this effort will fall flat on its face.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Based on two minutes of unscientific Google research, I got quotes of $60k, $72k, $85k, and $92k for a new school bus.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tim: DUH! Everyone knows Gov money comes from taxes, but Schmeltz's point was that school districts, except for the rich ones, will never be able to afford the cost of those buses. Hence his point about subsidies, which I think is a valid one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't know for sure the cost of a new school bus, however I believe I heard mention one time by friends of the family who have a bus company, that a new school bus is in the $40-50,000 range. I remember sort of being shocked that it wasn't a lot more since that is essentially the price range of today's large pick-ups. They reasoned that buses and heavy trucks are priced to make money for their owners and are very basic in most things. My brother in law recently got a new International 9900 long nose conventional Class 8 truck. Those are the big ones with the sleeper, 500 hp. engine, and the works. I think his employer paid around $140,000 for that rig. Generally, school buses are bought in fleets too, therefore needing to be competitive in price. So if the numbers I sighted above are anywhere near accurate, than you can see that $225,000 is astronomical.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's pretty hefty. Still, if you were actually using the buses on a million mile per year schedule the way that the Houston district is, saving $150,000 in fuel costs (minus taxes, I know, but still) is massively significant.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Schmeltz- The "gov't" NEVER subsidizes, donates, entitles or in any way pays for anything... WE DO! Like it or not. Welcome to the USSA!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hope they are kidding with that price tag--$225,000 per bus?!!!! Huh??? These won't see the light of day unless bus companies would get some sort of gigantic gov't. subsidy. I doubt it.

      A good idea but the cost will never allow this to take off.
      • 7 Years Ago
      $225,000 for a bus? Sounds like it could be reasonable, or at least not enough to immediately toss off my bullshit detector. After all, this isn't a used Taurus we're talking about here. Does anyone know what a conventional schoolbus costs?

      Besides, when you're reducing fuel costs (presumably overall, taking the electricity into account) on a vehicle that gets, what, 8-9 mpg and travels 1,000,000 miles per year (that's about 125,000 gallons or a fuel cost of roughly $300,000 per year), that's where your savings come from. Dropping the overall bill even by 1/3 would pay for a new bus every two years.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The cost listed is a 3 times premium over a conventional Class C Bus 62 passenger(this represents the largest single segment of school buses).

      Remember that this is for building a limited amount of vehicles so your cost per vehicle for production is much higher. IF full production of hybrids (21,000 per year) studies anticipate a premium of only 20,000 per bus. No one wanted to be the test subject so the
      feds kicked in money to support the cost of the test.

      For more info http://www.hybridschoolbus.org/ click on Knowledge library and then Business feability Study.