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America's First All-Electric School Bus Newton eTrans

Smith Electric Vehicles, in conjunction with school bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus, has unveiled the nation's first all-electric, zero-emissions school bus deemed Newton eTrans. The vehicle had its debut at the National Association for Pupil Transportation's Annual Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. America’s first all-electric school bus is available for order today and will be ready to ship early in 2012.
Posted: October 26, 2011 - 7:05PM
Author: Don Bain

"America's 480,000 school buses burn as estimated 822 million gallons of diesel fuel every year at a cost of nearly $3.2 billion," said Bryan Hansel, president and CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles. "The Newton operates at one-third to one-half the cost of a traditional diesel, creating significant fuel cost savings for school districts in addition to the clear environmental and health benefits of all-electric, zero-emission transportation for students."

The exhaust from traditional diesel engines is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely human carcinogen that can contribute to chronic health effects including asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems including lung disease. Most of the school buses in the U.S. have diesel engines that, due to the developing respiratory systems and faster breathing rates of children, make them more susceptible to these particulates.

The Newton eTrans will carry up to 42 passengers with a range of 120 miles on a single charge, with cruising speeds as fast as 50 mph, making it a good choice for the daily routines most school buses follow in urban areas. The bus also utilizes the latest in lithium ion batteries and regenerative braking technology to extend the range of the vehicle.

"This is an exciting time for Trans Tech Bus as we officially enter the electric school bus market with our eTrans product," said Dan Daniels, president of Trans Tech Bus. "Our customers have been demanding an all-electric school bus that addresses environmental, health and fuel-cost concerns and we're proud to partner with Smith Electric Vehicles to bring it to them."

The big yellow school bus is turning green. Good news for school districts needing to cut expenditures and protect the health of their young charges.