Nation's first hybrid school bus is tested

School bus manufacturer IC Corp is working with Enova Systems Inc to introduce the nation's first hybrid school bus. The two companies have developed a prototype school bus with a hybrid diesel-electric drivetrain that is undergoing testing.

“Together, IC Corp and Enova are delivering an integrated solution that allows the customer to attain an approximate 40% increase in fuel economy and also greatly reduce emissions,” said Mike Staran, Enova's vice-president of marketing.

This project features Enova's post-transmission 80-kilowatt Hybrid Drive System and is being evaluated at IC Corps research and technology facility in Fort Wayne IN. The hybrid school bus will be delivered to a school bus customer in spring 2006.

The initial powertrain for the school bus project will couple an International VT365 V-8 diesel engine with an 80-kw hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, batteries, and permanent magnet motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing the system to use both diesel and electric power efficiently.

Kinetic energy is recovered during braking, charging the batteries while the bus is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, an advantage because of the frequent starting and stopping of the bus.

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