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Education Transportation Technology

California District Launches Country's First All-Electric School Bus 94

joe5 writes "Well, leave it the golden state. The Kings Canyon (near Squaw Valley) Unified School District recently launched the first all-electric school bus in the United States. The bus is a modified SST Trans Tech model based on a Ford E-Series van chassis — and Motiv Power Systems created the electric drive train. (The project was a collaboration between those two companies plus the California Air Resources Board.) The electric bus can carry 25 students with an estimated range of 80 to 100 miles— and while it costs more than a standard combustion engine version, is expected to save about 16 gallons of fuel per day. Thanks to a federal highway program, three more electric buses are on their way to the Kings Canyon district and similar programs are in the works in both Chicago and New York."
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California District Launches Country's First All-Electric School Bus

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  • Re:Cold (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Saturday March 08, 2014 @02:28PM (#46435281) Homepage Journal

    Many EVs let you turn on the heating remotely or on a timer, so that the vehicle is warmed up while it is still plugged in and charging. Then it only needs to maintain that temperature, which requires a lot less energy. The charge process itself also generates a fair bit of heat which can be used.

    Have a read of some of the EV forums. Electric cars are pretty popular in northern European countries where it gets very cold for much of the year, not least because they have this feature and tend to work more reliably than ICE cars.

  • Re:Cold (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wing_Zero ( 692394 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @02:58PM (#46435443)
    Most districts have bus garages where they store their buses overnight, you typically heat that area anyways for the maintenance crew.

    even if you don't heat the garage, just being in a structure will help cut some of the cold. My old pickup has a manual transmission that gets stiff in cold weather, to the point that i have to warm the engine for 10-20 minutes when the temp is under 10F just for the shifter to move right. In the garage the time is at the lower number, but, when i park outside, the higher number is more common.

    at the very least, a school bus would probably be a ideal use for this type of tech. Predictable loop runs, twice a day, stored in the garage(and charging) while school is in session.
  • Re:hmmm.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08, 2014 @04:07PM (#46435787)

    Assuming all the energy is generated via coal, it would generate about two thirds of the carbon emissions. On one hand you have vastly improved efficiency of the power plant vs. the diesel engine. On the other hand, petrol is rich in hydrogen which burns to water, while coal is pure carbon so it will generate more CO2 for the same energy. If you use natural gas (CH4), then it drops to about half what the Diesel engine would generate.

    A more realistic view would take the energy whole mix into consideration, which also includes Hydro, nuclear, renewables, etc. An even more interesting question is to think on the margin: how will the energy market react to a consistent marginal increase in consumption ? Will it add more nuclear and solar plants or will burn more coal ?

    Another thing to consider is the start-stop nature of the workload: this is the environment the electric motor shines because it naturally lends to regenerative breaking. You have no idle burn at the traffic lights and no coupling inefficiency due to the discrete nature of the gearbox. The electric motor turns electricity into mechanical energy with over 90% efficiency, almost all of it moves the vehicle forward, and much of it can be recovered during breaking. These fact alone can skew the calculation by a factor of 2:1 - 3:1 in favor of the electric engine.

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