Clean Transport

Published on November 1st, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


America’s First All-Electric School Bus!

November 1st, 2013 by  

America will get its first all-electric school bus! You may have seen us write about electric buses many times before, but not school buses. I don’t understand why it has taken so long to do this for school buses, but there is a first time for everything.

This SST-e type A bus was developed under a partnership between Motiv Power Systems and Trans Tech Bus for Kings Canyon Unified School District for deployment in 2014. It is based on the Ford F450 chassis, and utilizes an all-battery, all-chassis Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) so that the school won’t be tethered to any one battery manufacturer. The school can replace the batteries with other, more-up-to-date batteries later on if desired. Apart from that, if the school needs to transplant the system into another bus, it can.

The first all-electric school bus in the US.
Image Credit: PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems.

According to PR Newswire: “Our system is battery agnostic, it ‘future-proofs’ fleets against changes in the battery market, such as discontinued batteries or future improved technology,” said Jim Castelaz Founder and CEO of Motiv. “This makes a Motiv equipped bus the most flexible and customizable all-electric powertrain for trucks on the market. We are thrilled the ePCS will be assisting schools get the most out of their transportation dollars, while at the same time educating children on clean transportation.”

This bus can seat 32 students, or 24 students and one wheelchair.

“An electric bus can save a school district about 16 gallons of fuel a day, or around $11,000 in fuel savings over a year, not to mention maintenance savings,” said John Phraner President of Trans Tech. “We are very excited to continue to help school districts reduce their transportation budgets and are committed to opening the market for the all-electric school bus.”

Trans Tech Bus is a manufacturer of type A buses. It offer both single and dual-wheel models. It is a subsidiary of Transportation Collaborative Incorporated. Motiv Power Systems is a designer and constructor of flexible electric powertrain control systems.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Others

    Wonderful, a school bus may travel only around 20 miles in the morning and another 20 miles in the evening. So a bus with 50 mile range will do (40 miles + 10 mile buffer).

  • Excited to see these start to roll out and not only help our schools save money, but also teach our children about saving the environment.

  • Now the kids won’t have to poison their brains with diesel fumes when in the bus…


  • Ronald Brakels

    Looking online I see that it will apparently come with a choice between 80 and 100 miles of range. An 80 mile range seems plenty for a school bus to me, but I don’t know much about school buses. We have one in Adelaide but it always seemed a bad idea to me.

    • Bob_Wallace

      80 miles is fine for many bus routes. Most routes try to keep on bus time at a minimum. With all the stops I would suspect routes are fairly short in order to keep ride lengths to no more than an hour.

      The bus will make a morning run and then have the day to recharge for an afternoon run. Seems like a perfect application if the cost is reasonable.
      Gosh, the stuff one finds on the web.

      Average bus miles per year – 12,000. Average school days per year – 180. Two trips per day makes the average bus route 33 miles. Probably three-quarters of all bus routes could be driven with an 80 mile range electric bus.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Because of all the stops they make it is possible for school kids to beat a bus on a bicycle so that suggests an 80 mile range might be good for over 6 hours driving, although heating or air conditioning demands might cut into that. And there is always the option of extending the range by putting solar panels on the roof.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Wow, I just found out there are almost half a million school buses in the US. No wonder they keep turing up in movies.

  • wattleberry

    These ‘agnostic batteries’- I’m a believer…

  • Bob_Wallace

    Range? Cost? Planning on finishing this draft?

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