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California’s Newest Green Product – A Hybrid School Bus – Saves Fuel, Reduces Emissions

2008-07-25 12:29:00

California’s Newest Green Product – A Hybrid School Bus – Saves Fuel, Reduces Emissions

  IC Bus Shows Positive First Year Results for Napa Valley School District

    NAPA, Calif., July 25 /EMWNews/ -- Imagine the environmental impact

if all of California's school buses were able to double their fuel

efficiency and eliminate up to 40 percent of their greenhouse gas

emissions. That's not the premise for a futuristic Hollywood movie, it's

reality for one California school district.


    IC Bus, LLC, the largest school bus manufacturer in North America and

affiliate of Navistar, Inc. (NYSE: NAV), delivered a revolutionary new

hybrid diesel electric school bus to Napa Valley Unified School District

last August -- the only hybrid diesel electric school bus in California.

    While most "diesel-only" powered school buses achieve an average of six

to seven miles per gallon, Ralph Knight, transportation director at Napa

Valley School District, was surprised to learn just how much fuel the

hybrid diesel electric school bus could save.

    After one school year and 13,000 miles, he was pleasantly surprised to

learn that the fuel efficiency of the hybrid bus helped him reach close to

13 miles per gallon -- nearly double the fuel efficiency of a typical

diesel school bus.

    Based on 13,000 miles the hybrid bus traveled during the 2007-08 school

year, annual fuel costs for a standard school bus would be just under

$10,000 at $4.87 per gallon. Conversely, fuel for the hybrid bus costs

approximately $5,000 at the same price per gallon.

    "Fuel costs are a major concern to me," said Knight. "Cutting annual

fuel costs in half for this bus is a major advantage -- both for taxpayers'

wallets and for the environment."

    Traveling about 65 miles per day, the hybrid bus typically transports

roughly 60 children each morning and 60 each afternoon through a mixed

route of highway and city driving.

    "The children are excited to be riding one of the first hybrid school

buses in the nation," said Knight. "The parents have also commented on the

positive environmental benefits of the bus."

    Drivers also enjoy driving the bus. To the driver, it operates similar

to a standard school bus. However, the diesel engine receives assistance

from an electric motor at certain points during acceleration and

deceleration. The hybrid drive system on Napa Valley's bus is recharged by

plugging it into a standard outlet at night or between morning and

afternoon routes.

    Torrance, Calif.-based Enova Systems, a leading supplier of proprietary

electric, hybrid and fuel cell digital power management systems is the

exclusive supplier of school bus hybrid drive systems to IC Bus. The

company selected Enova's post-transmission parallel hybrid drive system

because of its reliability, proven ability to deliver significant fuel

efficiency improvements and emission reductions over a broad range of route

cycles, and because no additional investment in maintenance infrastructure

is required.

    The word in the industry has gotten out. Knight says he has fielded

calls from school districts all over the country asking him about the

performance of this new bus.

    "I've told them the truth," said Knight. "I'm very pleased with the

hybrid school bus."

    One of the other advantages of the bus hasn't really been "seen" -- and

that's by design. The exhaust of the hybrid school bus is smokeless with

dramatically reduced emissions compared to older buses operating in

California. In fact, emissions of particulate matter have been reduced by

up to 90 percent.

    "There's a host of new technologies incorporated into the hybrid school

bus that provide the improvement in fuel economy and reduction in

emissions," said David Hillman, marketing director at IC Bus. "With a year

of customer experience in Napa, and the additional experience gained from

hybrid buses at customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, we have shown

that hybrid technology is a viable solution for bus operators in North

America. The volume provided by our current customer base has allowed us to

reduce our prices by $30,000 to $40,000. We encourage further efforts to

provide federal and state funding, such as the California Proposition 1B

funds, to help offset purchase prices and provide the opportunity for more

school districts and bus operators to implement this environmentally vital


    In the case of Napa's hybrid unit, PG&E provided $30,000 to help with

the purchase of the plug-in hybrid school bus. An additional $30,000 to

fund the bus was provided by the U.S. EPA through the Clean School Bus USA

program and the West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership to

reduce diesel emissions.

    Schools in California can use funds allocated by Proposition 1B to

direct toward the purchase of a hybrid school bus. Funding to districts to

support hybrid purchases from Proposition 1B and distributed through the

California Air Resources Board can be up to $40,000 per bus.

    More information about the hybrid school bus can be found at

    IC Bus

    IC Bus, LLC of Warrenville, Ill., is a wholly owned affiliate of

Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV). The nation's largest

manufacturer of school buses, IC Bus is a leader in passenger protection,

chassis design, engines and ergonomics. The company is also a producer of

commercial buses. All IC Bus 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

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