IC’s First All-Electric School Bus Order

By Mike Osenga09 September 2020

IC Bus, the school bus manufacturer and brand of Navistar, announced that it has received an order for 18 type C electric school buses from British Columbia. The order is funded through the annual British Columbia Provincial School Bus Standing Offer. The first two buses are expected to begin operation next year.

“We are very happy to announce the first order of our electric CE school bus,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus. “Electric is an exciting opportunity for IC Bus and we look forward to expanding our presence following this initial purchase.”

The electric school buses will be the first in British Columbia and will be operated by 14 school districts. British Columbia has mandated a 40% greenhouse gas reduction for public fleets by 2030. The 18 buses represent the entirety of the order, IC said.

The IC Bus, CE range has a capacity of 29 to 78 passengers and had heretofore offered diesel (Cummins B6.7), propane (PSI 8.8 L) or gasoline (PSI 8.8 L) power options. The CE series has wheelbases from 158 to 276 in. and 23,500 to 33,000 GVWR.

An IC spec sheet says the bus has a range of 70 to 200 miles and powertrain batteries 105 to 315 kWh driving a permanent magnet electric motor. Peak power is listed at 250 kW (335 hp) with a continuous power of 160 kW (215 hp). Peak torque is 11,579 lb.ft. (15,700 Nm).

Charging options include AC Level 1 and 2, DC fast charging with a standard J1772 CCS1 port. The bus is V2G capable.

Robyn Stephenson, manager of Transportation Services at School District No. 22 in Vernon, British Columbia, said two of the electric buses will go into service next year. Stephenson said the order builds upon past sustainability actions such as fuel-efficient driving techniques and bus route design, which has already contributed to a 30% drop in fuel consumption.

Over the past 18 months, IC Bus and NEXT – Navistar’s eMobility business unit – have been consulting with a group of transportation supervisors in British Columbia to obtain real-world operational data, route-profiles and climate data, IC said.

“The group of transportation supervisors offered us unique insight by sharing their operational wants and needs while keeping in perspective the very diverse climate they work in, which will serve as a model for most of North America,” said Joel Landry, account manager, Western Canada Bus, the IC Bus dealer working with British Columbia School Districts. “From mountain ranges to the coastal rainforest and the Okanagan desert, British Columbia presented a perfect challenge for the engineers, which will benefit us moving forward.”

Gary Horvat, vice president, eMobility, Navistar, said a broader launch of electric IC Buses across North American is expected in 2021.

Throughout the meetings in British Columbia, it became clear the school districts would require charging infrastructure guidance. As such, each of the school districts are being provided with complimentary site planning services by NEXT’s charging solutions team.

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