Trans Tech’s All-Electric Bus With 130-Mile Range A Game Changer

My father used to call school buses “yellow devils,” and he hated getting stuck behind them. I always wondered why it took such a huge vehicle with a big engine to transport a few kids to school. I’m not alone, and Trans Tech has developed an all-electric school bus with a 130 mile range that will save the environment and money.

An Electric Solution To A Loud, Expensive Problem

An electric school bus makes so much sense on so many levels. The limited range of many electric vehicles isn’t much of an issue for a school bus, which usually only operate during the day, and run routes that rarely go more than 50 miles in a day.

According to the National School Bus Council, most school bus stops are within 5 miles of the destination school, and the average school bus drives about 12,000 miles per year…which works out to be about 33 miles per day. At an average 7 mpg, a single bus swallows over 1,700 gallons of diesel fuel a year, which costs over $6,600 annually to drive just one bus. And there are over 480,000 buses in the United States alone.

Trans Tech’s EV school bus utilizes a 120 kW/160 hp electric motor and two 278-volt lithium-ion battery packs which, depending on conditions, can take the 42-passenger bus between 100 and 130 miles per charge. The bus will only be able to reach speeds of 60 mph…but how much faster do buses have to go. Save for the occasional field trip, most bus trips stick to local, low-speed roads. Charging time is 6-10 hours (probably on a Level 2 Charger I imagine.)

Save Money, Save The Environment 

Trans Tech, who teamed up with Smith Electric Vehicles and uses their Newton heavy-duty chassis to underpin their buses, wants to price their EV buses competitively, so buyers will see real cost savings sooner rather than later. Which is important in these tough times.

I know school budgets are tight right now for many municipalities, but this is one of those long-term purchases that can result in huge cost savings. I’m sure many residents would also appreciate the quiet nature of the electric buses rolling through their neighborhood every morning. I sure as hell would.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.