Charlotte, NC (May 17, 2007)
With fuel prices nearing record highs, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District will have a new plug-in hybrid electric school bus for the 2007-08 school year that could help offset increasing fuel costs while helping protect the environment.
The school district will become one of the first school districts in the U.S. to operate the new hybrid school bus that has the potential to double fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent.
“We’re excited to be one of the first school districts in the nation to receive the plug-in hybrid electric school bus,” said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. “An environmentally cleaner, more efficient trip to and from school is a tremendous benefit for our students and our community.”
The new bus is a result of a nationwide initiative called the Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project, led by Raleigh-based Advanced Energy, a non-profit corporation that initiated a buyer’s consortium of school districts, state energy agencies and student transportation providers. Among the partners that helped Advanced Energy bring the bus to Charlotte include:
- Duke Energy Carolinas
- Dominion North Carolina Power
- N.C. Department of Administration – State Energy Office
- N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Division of Air Quality
- N.C. Department of Public Instruction
- North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
The hybrid plug-in school bus is built by IC Corporation, the nation’s largest school bus manufacturer, and Enova Systems, a leading provider of hybrid drive systems.
“By supporting this project, Duke Energy Carolinas is making an investment in our energy future,” said Ellen Ruff, president, Duke Energy Carolinas. “We’re helping spur the development of new technology and, just as valuable, we’re teaching children important lessons about the many ways we can all protect our environment for future generations.”
While the exterior of the school bus looks the same as a standard bus, it is powered with innovative new technology. The hybrid school bus project features Enova's Charge Depleting System (or "Plug In"), which was extensively tested and evaluated at IC Corporation’s research and technology facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. With an overnight charge, this system utilizes a larger battery based on advanced battery chemistry that provides stored energy intended to be drawn down over the driving cycle, thus optimizing fuel economy. Depending on the route, fuel economy is expected to improve by 70-100 percent and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent.
“This project provides operational benefits to school districts, while also providing the reduced emissions desired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a valuable return on investment to school boards,” said Ewan Pritchard, P.E., Advanced Energy’s hybrid program manager.
The initial powertrain for the hybrid school bus will couple an International® VT365 V8 diesel engine with the 25/80-kilowatt hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, batteries and an electric motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing the system to utilize both diesel and electric power in a highly efficient manner.
The hybrid school buses are also outfitted with a proprietary GPS system called AWARE™ Vehicle Intelligence that allows school officials to track the exact location and performance of the school bus via a password-protected site on the Internet.
“IC Corporation’s hybrid school bus revolutionizes the school bus industry,” said Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation. “Improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions helps school districts and the environment. IC Corporation is committed to environmental leadership and delivering value to our customers.”
Later this, year other school districts around the country will be receiving the remaining IC Corporation hybrid school buses awarded in Advanced Energy’s bid – 19 total. The hybrid school buses are manufactured at IC Corporation’s plant in Conway, Ark. More information about the program is available www.hybridschoolbus.org.
About IC Corporation
IC Corporation is a wholly owned affiliate of Navistar International Corporation (OTC: NAVZ). The nation’s largest integrated manufacturer of school buses, IC Corporation is a leader in passenger protection, chassis design, engines and ergonomics. The company is also a producer of commercial buses. All IC Corporation buses are sold, serviced and supported through a renowned dealer network that offers an integrated customer program encompassing parts, training and service. Additional information is available site at www.ic-corp.com.
About Advanced Energy
Advanced Energy is a Raleigh-based nonprofit corporation that enables utility customers to improve returns on their energy investments. The corporation also strives to create environmental, economic and societal benefits through innovative and market-based approaches to energy. The Hybrid Electric School Bus Project represents a collaborative effort among many parties to improve the nation’s air quality. The project has demonstrated that industry, government and non-profits can successfully work together to improve the environment and encourage the economy.