Seeking A Greener School Bus
Advanced Energy wants your child's ride to school to be good for the environment, so the group is promoting a clean-air kiddie commute -- on a hybrid electric school bus.
The Raleigh nonprofit group has spent three years doing research and recruiting school districts to participate in a social experiment. Now it's ready to accept bids from bus manufacturers to have prototypes built and tested in North Carolina and 11 other states. The aim: to determine whether the fuel-saving technology used in the Prius and other hybrid cars will also translate to the nine-ton scale of a school bus. Two of the experimental buses would be road-tested in Wake and Mecklenburg counties.
Advanced Energy's vice president, John Morrison, says that over time, the fuel efficiency will justify the extra expense of a hybrid electric bus. But the theory has to be demonstrated before cash-strapped school districts commit to shelling out the estimated $90,000 for the hybrid models, rather than $65,000 for a conventional diesel-engine bus.
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