::Raleigh Receives Hybrid School Bus
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
UPDATED: Thursday, May 17, 2007
RALEIGH - The first ever hybrid diesel and electric school bus in North Carolina was delivered in Raleigh this week.
The Wake County Public Schools received the bus in Raleigh on Thursday morning during a media event in front of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.
"Wake County students will be among the first in the country to ride on a hybrid school bus," said Don Hayden, Associate Superintendent of the Wake County School District in a statement to the media. "This is an exciting time for our school district as we strive to provide environmentally cleaner, more fuel efficient student transportation."
The unique bus relies on diesel engines combined with an electric drive powered by batteries. The batteries recharge during braking but can also be charged with a plug-in unit that is on the side of the bus, similar to an recreational vehicle "shore power" connection.
As a result, the new buses get almost twice the mileage of regular diesels (according to one report, around 12 mpg compared to around 6 mpg for a normal bus.)
As an added bonus, the buses also have reduced emissions by 90 percent. Regular diesels have experienced criticism because of their "soot" or particulate matter that is put into the air during driving.
Although it features new technology, the bus looks no different than traditional buses, although at over $112,000 per new bus, it does cost more than a traditional bus.
The bus is produced by the IC Corporation, which is the former International Harvester Company and the diesel-electric hybrid drive is produced by Enova Systems. The IC Corporation claims that it is the country's largest bus manufacturer.
According to the IC Corporation, the powertrain for the bus will combine an International VT365 V8 diesel engine with a 25/80-kilowatt hybrid-electric powertrain.
Helping to purchase the bus -- one of two slated for North Carolina -- is a Raleigh based non-profit organization called Advanced Energy.
Advanced Energy started the hybrid bus project and negotiated a group purchase for 19 of such buses around the country.
Advanced Energy was founded in 1980 by the NC Utilities Commission to expand the use of new energy technologies. The company was set up by Progress Energy, Duke Energy, Nantahala Power & Light Company, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation and Dominion NC Power.
Advanced Energy is an independent non-profit corporation that is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the governor of North Carolina and the member utilities.
In a statement to the press for delivery of a hybrid bus for Pennsylvania, the bus manufacturer said they believe these types of new efficient powertrains can be a big hit.
"IC Corporation's hybrid school bus revolutionizes the school bus industry," said Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation on April 25th. "Improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions helps school districts and the environment." ::