Yes Virginia, There Are Electric School Buses

By Mike Osenga21 January 2020

In the first step of an initiative by Dominion Energy in Virginia, Thomas Built Buses, the North American Daimler Trucks subsidiary, has been selected to provide the first 50 fully-electric versions of its black and yellow school buses. The initiative plans to switch 1050 of the school buses in Virginia from diesel to electrically powered models.

The electric battery technology for the Jouley model buses are the result of a cooperation with Proterra and boasts a total power capacity of 220 kWh, (295 peak hp) driving through a two-speed transmission. Range is estimated range at 134 miles.

The Thomas Built Buses also offers DC fast charging architecture as standard equipment. Daimler said the Jouley buses can be charged in about three hours with the optional Proterra 60 kW fast charging system and can, when properly equipped, supply power back to the power grid using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

According to Daimler specs, the Jouley bus has up to a 120 mile operating range and includes specialized battery packaging for increased safety. The 81-passenger buses can accelerate to 60 mph in under one minute depending on the final drive rear axle ratio.

The buses also feature regenerative braking and a telematics system to provide real-time fleet tracking, management and vehicle diagnostics. Electronic control software interfaces with critical vehicle systems and includes fault detection and related management features designed to optimize battery economy while maintaining performance, Daimler said.

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