CTRE  en route
Summer 2006

CTRE en route is published twice a year to inform readers about CTRE's projects and programs.

 

Address: CTRE, 2901 S. Loop Drive, Suite 3100, Ames, IA 50010

Phone: 515-294-8103
FAX: 515-294-0467

Website: www.ctre.iastate.edu/

CTRE Communications:
Marcia Brink
CTRE en route editor:
Michele Regenold

CTRE is an Iowa State University center.

Iowa State University: Becoming the best

Demonstrating the feasibility of hybrid electric school buses

hybrid-electric school bus parked

The hybrid electric school buses will look like all the other standard diesel buses.

Kids in 11 different states, including Iowa, will ride the first hybrid electric school buses late this year.

CTRE will evaluate the fuel economy and the emissions of the two buses that will be deployed in two Iowa school districts.

Plug-in hybrid electric school buses

School buses are an excellent application of a new type of hybrid—a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It plugs into the electrical grid overnight to recharge the batteries, which reduces the amount of time the internal combustion engine has to run to recharge the batteries. This reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

Standard Type C school buses average 6.5 miles per gallon (mpg). The hybrid electric buses should average 12.4 mpg, a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency. With the high cost of fuel driving up schools’ transportation budgets, such a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency could make these buses quite popular.

Perhaps more important, the hybrid electric school buses will reduce emissions dramatically, which will be better for kids’ health.

National project

This work is part of a national project led by Advanced Energy, a non-profit organization in North Carolina, to develop hybrid vehicle technology for commercialization in school buses. The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate the market to a manufacturer who will then mass produce the vehicles.

To help demonstrate the market, Advanced Energy formed a national buyers' consortium. The consortium coordinates various funding sources.

Iowa piece

In Iowa, CTRE administered the bus purchase on behalf of the Sigourney Community School District and Nevada Community School District. The school districts each kicked in $60,000, which is the typical purchase price of a standard diesel, 65-passenger school bus. The hybrid electric school buses cost about $200,000 each.

Additional Iowa partners include the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa School Administrators, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa Energy Center. These partners have contributed financial and/or in-kind support for the purchase.

Bus manufacturers

The hybrid electric school buses are being built by IC Corporation in collaboration with Enova Systems, Inc.

For more information about the national project, see www.hybridschoolbus.org. For more information about CTRE’s role on the project, contact Dennis Kroeger, kroeger@iastate.edu, 515-296-0910.