Plug-In Hybrid School Buses Introduced

Students in Florida are riding on the first two hybrid plug-in school buses in the U.S. The buses use both a diesel engine and electric motor, and they plug into a power socket at night to charge the batteries. The Manatee School District bought the buses from Navistar, a diesel truck company. This week, another bus will be delivered to a school in Pennsylvania. The first 19 buses cost over $200,000, which is more than double the cost of a regular school bus. At that price, the buses won't pay for themselves over their lives, based on fuel savings. However, analysts say that the plug-in hybrid buses may drop in price, so that they cost only $40,000 more than regular buses. At that price, they will pay for themselves in just a few years with lower maintenance and fuel costs.Ordinary yellow "type C" school buses get about 6 to 8 miles to the gallon. But the new plug-in hybrid models, rated at more than 12 mpg, could cut fuel consumption about in half in many districts. That could mean a big fuel savings for tight budgets. So the potential for hybrid diesel vehicles is great — hybrid trucks and buses offer even larger fuel savings than hybrid cars, and can pay for themselves in a few years.

:: Via Christian Science Monitor

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