School Buses Are Now Green As Well As Yellow
For as long as schools have employed school buses, people have been sitting behind them breathing diesel exhaust fumes and hating their local school district. Some studies have found those fumes even affected kids inside the buses. The risk has been reduced with newer diesel engines, but two North American companies have begun the process to make an even bigger change.
Recently, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Blue Bird, an American bus manufacturer, $4.4 million to develop an electric school bus with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. V2G allows the bus to supply energy back into the electric grid when not shuttling students to and from school.
This new technology will allow school districts to save money while simultaneously creating a cleaner and healthier environment for their students. Through matching funds and funding from other groups, Blue Bird has obtained a total of almost $9 million and will build a demonstration fleet of eight buses in California by 2019.
Also jumping into the market is Canadian company Lion Bus, who unveiled their eLion electric school bus in Palo Alto recently. The eLion was developed in partnership with the government of Québec (where Lion Bus is based) and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). , a California company that provides zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles to school and other fleets, signed on to become the exclusive supplier of eLion school buses in the Western U.S. (Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington),
The eLion bus claims its TM4 electric motor provides equal power to the traditional diesel equivalent, and delivers ranges of 50, 75 and 100 miles, depending on the battery configuration.
Lion Bus plans to manufacture the eLion in California as it ramps up production.
Both companies seem to be reacting to a widespread desire for cleaner and more efficient transportation. As health concerns continue to rise, the era of the diesel school bus could be coming to an end.