Navistar International Corporation debuted one of the first diesel hybrid school buses in Sacramento on Wednesday, highlighting the potential to help meet California's climate change, energy efficiency and clean air goals.
"School buses are the safest way for children to travel to school," said Patrick Charbonneau, Navistar International Corporation, vice president, government relations. "Now thanks to Navistar's new Green Diesel Hybrid technology, the trip can also be clean, fuel efficient and significantly lower in greenhouse gas emissions."
Advances in diesel engines, fuels and exhaust control technology during the past decade have reduced key emissions from new school buses by more than 90%. However, of the nearly 30,000 school buses that transport California students every day, almost half are more than ten years old, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
To upgrade this aging fleet, voters dedicated $200 million last fall for new, clean school buses as part of Proposition 1B. This substantial funding contained in the Transportation Infrastructure Bond puts California in position to be the nation's leader in diesel hybrid school buses.
According to Navistar, plug-in diesel hybrids produce 30%-60% lower greenhouse gas emissions and deliver up to 70%-100% better fuel economy when compared to conventional buses. These improvements could play a key role in meeting California's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases 25% by 2020.
Navistar, through its subsidiary IC Corporation, is the largest school bus manufacturer in North America and the first to introduce a diesel hybrid plug- in option. The company's Green Diesel Hybrid school bus couples an International VT365 V8 diesel engine with a hybrid-electric powertrain that includes a specially designed transmission, batteries and permanent magnet motor. The system recovers kinetic energy during braking and uses it to charge the batteries, making hybrid school buses ideal applications because of the frequent starting and stopping. This stored energy provides additional power for acceleration and reduces idling.
In addition to school buses, diesel-electric hybrid has application in waste handling trucks, utility company service vehicles, long-haul highway trucks, and local-delivery trucks and vans. Along with the Green Diesel Hybrid school bus, Navistar also displayed a utility truck outside the state capitol.