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A California School District Is First In The Nation To Include All-Electric School Buses In Its Fleet

As private industries have for years been incorporating electric vehicles into their fleets, now the trend is increasingly moving into the public sector – first with electric commuter buses and now for the first time school buses.

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the Kings Canyon Unified School District has just become the first school district in the nation to incorporate all-electric school buses into its fleet.

These new all-electric buses are expected to save Kings Canyon Unified School District over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs, while also eliminating student exposure to particulate air emissions. Photo courtesy of Motiv Power Systems.

The district ordered four buses from Trans Tech Bus, which is a manufacturer of conventional and environmentally-friendly type A school buses. Called the SST-e, these electric vehicles of Trans Tech’s popular SST model use a Ford E450 cutaway chassis equipped with a Motiv Power System’s electric powertrain.

Motiv builds and designs an electric powertrain control system (ePCS) that can be modified for use in medium to heavy duty all-electric vehicles – including box trucks, flat/stake beds, refrigerated trucks, utility/service bodies, shuttle buses, delivery vehicles, and refuse trucks – that have a variety of batteries and motors.

The Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e school buses have been designed to allow for a lot of customizing flexibility. They can hold either 25 students in traditional seating or 18 students with a wheelchair lift and configurable track seating for up to three wheelchairs.

These vehicles also can also be selected with either a range option of 80 or 100 miles. The district expects the save over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs with these new electric school buses.

In terms of safety, these new electric school buses passed all of the district and California Highway Patrol inspections and certifications, making them the first electric buses to be approved for student transportation by any state.

These first SST-e school buses were partially funded by the California Air Resource Board’s AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), and the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).

It’s also important to note that voucher incentive funding is available to any California school district through HVIP for offsetting the cost of these zero emission busses.

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