At first glance this may look like your everyday school bus, but look a bit closer and you’ll notice no emissions, no engine, and no noise.
“It’s an exciting part of the school bus future. So it’s a concept vehicle, and electric powertrain. So this is a fully electric school bus. A school bus is a great application for an electric powertrain,” said Trish Reed, the vice president and general manager of IC Bus, the subsidiary of Navistar.
Navistar brought its electric school bus prototype, the Charge, to Jefferson Junior High, as part of a partnership with the Naperville Education Foundation to encourage innovative opportunities for District 203 students.
“The e-bus over there has four DC batteries, also known as lithium ion batteries. And don’t touch the orange [cables] from the bus because you will get electrocuted,” explained seventh grader Dorian Dobrzycki.
Taking a step inside, students weren’t looking out- but down. As a prototype the middle bus seats were removed, so kids could get a look through windows in the vehicle floor that showcase the bus’ electric motor, high voltage cables, and DC to DC converter.
“This a basic motor and battery, and that’s all that’s making the bus move, nothing else,” added Reed. “When you look at other school buses powered by diesel or gasoline you need the powertrain, the engine, the fuel system, it’s a lot of complexity to that.”
And that wasn’t the only cool technology to check out. Naperville North’s Huskie Robotics team also swung by to show off their work in engineering and make connections with younger 203 students.
“What they’re showing today is kind of that real world application, you get to see the things that you see everyday and interact with everyday, being applied and taken to that next step, which is really cool,” said Shilpa Sathyanathan, the director of communications and outreach for Huskie Robotics.
The Charge can run up to 120 miles on a 10 hour charge – making the average 60 mile bus route no problem – especially since you can charge up between the a.m. and p.m. pick ups.
Navistar says the electric bus is still in the product development phase, but by 2020, students could start taking the bus of the future to school every day.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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