Eleven States School Districts First to Receive Hybrid Buses

The hybrid school bus is expected to attain a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency, which becomes even more essential with the rising fuel costs affecting many school districts.

Published: 26-Jul-2006

Eleven states will be getting a higher grade for investing in energy-efficiency this school year. New York, California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa and Washington will be the first states in the nation to receive hybrid school buses. Through its Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project, Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofit corporation, initiated a buyer's consortium of school districts, state energy agencies and student transportation providers. After issuing nationwide Request for Proposals (RFPs) for hybrid school buses in June 2006, Advanced Energy announced today at the 13th Annual School Transportation News Expo that IC Corporation, the nation's largest school bus manufacturer, won the bid and will provide up to 19 hybrid school buses to those 11 states.

"This project provides operational benefits to school districts, while also providing the reduced emissions desired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a valuable return on investment to school boards," said Ewan Pritchard, P.E., Advanced Energy's hybrid program manager. "This bid award is the result of several years of collaborative effort among manufacturers, school districts and government agencies to change the school bus market."

IC Corporation, in collaboration with Enova Systems, unveiled the nation's first hybrid school bus two weeks ago at the New York Association of Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) Show. The hybrid school bus is expected to attain a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency, which becomes even more essential with the rising fuel costs affecting many school districts.

"With fuel prices near all-time highs, new innovations in hybrid technology are needed to help customers in the school bus industry keep their operating costs lower," said Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation. "We're proud that Advanced Energy recognizes the need to help our nation's school districts with energy-efficient school buses. In addition, even though current International diesel engines on many existing school buses produce no visible smoke and minimal emissions, the hybrid program will reduce engine emissions even further."

These members of Advanced Energy's buyers' consortium are currently scheduled to receive buses:

-- North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (2 buses)

-- South Carolina Department of Educations (2 buses)

-- State of New York (2 buses)

-- Florida Department of Education (2 buses)

-- Napa Valley Unified School District, Napa Valley, Calif. (1 bus)

-- Durham School Services, Everett, Wash. (1 bus)

-- Lake Chelan School District, Chelan, Wash. (1 bus)

-- City of Seattle (1 bus)

-- Little Rock, Ark., School District (1 bus)

-- Sigourney Community School District, Sigourney, Iowa (1 bus)

-- Nevada Community Schools, Nevada, Iowa (1 bus)

-- Killeen Independent School District, Texas (1 bus)

-- Austin Independent School District, Texas (1 bus)

-- Fairfax County, Va. (1 bus)

-- Jennings Transportation, Nazareth, Pa. (1 bus)

The hybrid school bus project features Enova's post-transmission 80-kilowatt Hybrid Drive System and was extensively tested and evaluated at IC Corporation's research and technology facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. The initial powertrain for the hybrid school bus will couple an International(R) VT365 V8 diesel engine with the 80-kilowatt hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, batteries and an electric motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing the system to utilize both diesel and electric power in a highly efficient manner.

The system recovers kinetic energy during regenerative braking, charging the batteries while the bus is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, making school buses ideal candidates for hybrid technology because of the frequent stops and starts they perform along their daily routes.

"IC Corporation is committed to environmental leadership and delivering value to our customers," said Cancelliere. "We believe that diesel-electric hybrid technology can be made commercially viable for the school bus industry and this collaboration is the next step in making that a reality."

Funding to support Advanced Energy's initiative has come from North Carolina's electric utilities (Duke Power, Progress Energy, Dominion North Carolina Power and North Carolina electric cooperatives) and the State Energy Office in North Carolina.

"Duke Energy is proud to support research and market development of alternative and more energy efficient technologies," said Ellen Ruff, president of Duke Energy Carolinas. "The hybrid electric school bus project is an exciting example of how key stakeholders from the utility industry, business and government can form partnerships that produce great benefits for communities in which we live."

Advanced Energy is also welcoming additional funding at the state and private level to expand this program to more school districts and other states. More information about the program can be found at www.hybridschoolbus.org.

The hybrid bus announcement is the continuation of research and development for new technology in a number of different vehicles. IC Corporation's parent company, International Truck and Engine Corporation, is working extensively on hybrid trucks for the utility and delivery industries.

About IC Corporation

IC Corporation, the nation's largest integrated school bus manufacturer, is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corporation. International produces school bus chassis, mid-range diesel engines, medium trucks, heavy trucks, severe service vehicles, and is a provider of parts and service sold under the International brand. Both IC and International are subsidiaries of Navistar International Corporation (NYSE:NAV). Additional information is available on their website at: www.ic-corp.com.

About Enova Systems, Inc.

Enova Systems is a leading supplier of efficient, environmentally friendly digital power components and systems products. The company's core competencies are focused on the development and commercialization of power management and conversion systems for mobile and stationary applications. Enova applies unique 'enabling technologies' in the areas of alternative energy propulsion systems for medium and heavy-duty vehicles as well as power conditioning and management systems for distributed generation systems. The company develops, designs and produces drive systems and related components for electric, hybrid-electric, and fuel cell powered vehicles. For further information, contact Enova Systems directly, or visit its Web site at www.enovasystems.com.

About Advanced Energy

Advanced Energy is a Raleigh-based nonprofit corporation that enables utility customers to improve returns on their energy investments. The corporation also strives to create environmental, economic and societal benefits through innovative and market-based approaches to energy. The Hybrid Electric School Bus Project represents a collaborative effort among many parties to improve the nation's air quality. The project has demonstrated that industry, government and non-profits can successfully work together to improve the environment and encourage the economy.

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