The ubiquitous yellow school bus could now be green if school systems buy the first electric school bus, which is now on sale.
Smith Electric Vehicles, which makes electric commercial vehicles, has unveiled the first electric school bus, with leading school bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus.
The 42-passenger Newton eTrans travels up to 120 miles on a charge at speeds of up to 50 mph, ideal for the fixed routes in urban areas most school buses take each day.
"America’s 480,000 school buses burn as estimated 822 million gallons of diesel fuel every year at a cost of nearly $3.2 billion," says Bryan Hansel, Smith Electric CEO. "The Newton operates at one-third to one-half the cost of a traditional diesel, creating significant fuel cost savings for school districts in addition to the clear environmental and health benefits of all-electric, zero-emission transportation for students."
Most school buses in the US run on diesel – the EPA classifies the exhaust as a likely human carcinogen and contributes to acute and chronic health effects including asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems including lung disease.
The NewtonTM eTrans can be ordered now and shipped in early 2012.
Kansas City, Missouri-based Smith Electric raised $58 million in equity funding this year, in one of the larger rounds, and is rumored to planning an IPO.
Frito-Lay says it will build the largest fleet of commercial electric trucks in North America. It plans to roll out 155 trucks this year – all designed by Smith Electric.
And Duane Reade, the largest NYC drug store chain, is conducting a pilot with Smith to electrify its truck fleet.