The Electric School Bus Is About to Be Revolutionized
Chinese automaker BYD says they’re going to “revolutionize” the electric school bus. You might be wondering, isn’t the school bus already revolutionized just by being a huge EV? Apparently not, because BYD is making moves that will make the electric school bus even more cutting edge than the fact that it’s battery powered.
How will the electric school bus be revolutionized?
BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffet, says that their forthcoming electric school school bus will be battery operated and lead the school busses in safety and style. They will have a range of 155 miles, which isn’t too bad for a school bus that will likely spend a lot of its time transporting kids around town or to nearby field trips.
What kind of battery allows a vehicle that size to travel such a distance on a single charge? It’s a lithium iron phosphate battery. BYD says this is the safest electric vehicle battery. Also, BYD says that this will cut fuel and maintenance costs by 60%, which would be great for most schools already tight budgets.
The revolutionized school busses will be good for schools, too. There will be three size options for these electric school busses: 35, 38 and forty feet. The largest of these options will be able to hold 84 students and the busses will have an ADA lift gate.
BYD says that their busses will not only allow for bi-directional charging, but it will be the norm. The busses will be charged at night, when the demand for electricity is low. During the day, BYD’s electric school busses will be able to send clean energy back into the schools.
Will the electric school busses be safe?
Stella Li, president of BYD North America, said, “We are raising the bar for design, innovation, range and quality, giving parents peace of mind knowing their children are benefitting from the safest school bus anywhere.”
BYD electric school busses will have electronic stability control, collision avoidance, and pedestrian and cyclist detection when the electric school busses are traveling at low speeds.
Also, BYD electric school busses will use their trademarked Predictive Stop Arm. This will monitor traffic and tell students if it is not safe to cross the street.
In addition, the revolutionized electric school busses can come with three-point lap-shoulder belts. They can also come with integrated child seats and portable restraints, which is much more than many standard school busses have. BYD says that these safety features will cut down on bullying and also keep the bus driver from being distracted.
As an added bonus, the revolutionized electric school busses will have plenty of storage space and be comfortable for the driver. The driver’s seat will be more comfortable, thanks to input from thousands of bus drivers. The BYD electric school busses will make it easy for the driver to see the road as well as to reach control systems.
More and more school districts are moving toward electric busses. While standard diesel busses are still the norm, more electric school busses are making their way onto the streets, and advancements like this will certainly only help things along.