Inside: Transportation: Plug-in Bus is a First for California

The Napa Valley (Calif.) Unified District is the recipient of the state's first plug-in hybrid electric school bus.

The bus is powered by a combination of electricity and liquid fuels. It recovers kinetic energy from braking, and the plug-in feature enables the vehicle to recharge its battery power.

“Napa's plug-in hybrid school bus not only cleans up the air, it also offers a daily lesson in environmental stewardship for our youth,” says Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which contributed $100,000 to the purchase of the bus.

The bus is a result of a nationwide initiative called the Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project, led by Advanced Energy, a non-profit corporation in Raleigh, N.C. About a dozen school systems around the nation have received a plug-in hybrid bus. The buses cost two to three times more than a conventional school bus, hybrid advocates say, but their greater efficiency enables the buses to pay for themselves in six years.

Depending on the bus route, fuel economy is expected to improve by 70 to 100 percent, and emissions are expected to be reduced by up to 90 percent, officials say.


8.8 billion Number of student trips on school buses each year.
440,000 Number of school buses in service on a school day in the United States.
24 million Estimated number of students who ride a school bus each day.
Source: School Bus Information Council
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