Most school buses in the United States are powered by diesel fuel, the exhaust from which is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely human carcinogen and can contribute to acute and chronic health effects including asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems including lung disease. The agency warns that children’s developing respiratory systems and faster breathing rates make them more susceptible to air pollution. Currently, the United States employs nearly a half-million of these buses every weekday.
The iconic yellow school bus, however, might be becoming a little more green. Smith Electric Vehicles and school bus manufacturer Trans Tech recently unveiled their all-electric, zero-emission school bus, the Newton eTrans.
The bus boasts a 42-kid capacity and a get-there-before-first-period top speed of 50 mph. A full charge takes up to 10 hours and supplies a range of up to 120 miles. Aside from plush bench seating, the bus also features state of the art lithium batteries and regenerative braking technology.
“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,” Bryan Hansel, president and CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles, said in a statement. “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.”
The Newton eTrans is available for order today and will be shipped in early 2012. Pricing for the bus has not been released.
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