United Arab Emirates Orders $6.5m in Electric School Buses from Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation

November 27, 2017, Abdul Gaffer Mohammed Yousef, manager of Government Transport Centre, a subsidiary of Emriates Transport (ET) announced that they have entered into a contract with Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation to provide powered electric school buses. 

UAE Transit Dept. accepts first electric school bus.
UAE Electric School Bus from Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation

Earlier this month, ET has started the final phase of testing for the first battery-powered electric school bus. The 45-seater bus program is said to be one of the first projects of its kind worldwide.  But other electric school bus projects have been started in the United State, especially California.  However, this is probably the largest single effort to transition to all electric school buses with a cost of over $6.5m.

Commenting on the bus at its launch ceremony, Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, the general manager of ET, said: “The launch of a zero-emission school bus comes as part of our efforts to achieve the vision of the government for a green economy, and puts the UAE in the forefront of such initiatives, regionally and globally.” 

Buti Juma Al Naboodah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Commercial for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, also commented that: “Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is a strong advocate of sustainable practices, and this is reflected in our Vision 2020. We have long since supported the use of electric vehicles in our product portfolio, and through our partnerships with Emirates Transport and Sunwin, this vision is becoming a reality. This marks a great milestone for both the nation and our Group’s sustainability aims.”

Buses Undergo Difficult Testing

During the pilot phase, the bus will operate on full routes in conditions that accurately simulate the normal school bus’s daily journeys, as well as daily operating conditions.

The bus would operate in accordance with the specifications and regulations of school transport in force in the country.  Remarking on the development, Ajit Kumar, chief operating officer for the commercial, transport, and electrical divisions at Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, said: “Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is very proud to be associated with the project, and we are fully geared to provide the necessary support together with our principal, Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation.”

The application of these specifications represented a challenge during the manufacturing phase, and ET conducted three field visits to the factory floor in China to inspect the production line and ensure the application of all UAE specifications.  In addition to the usual structural safety tests, the bus underwent operational tests for 3 months, followed by several preliminary operational tests in the UAE. Technicians and specialists from Sunwin also visited the UAE to assess how the country’s climate and other conditions may impact on the performance of the bus.

Amer Al Harmoudi, executive director of ET’s Auto Services Division, said that one of the most important technical factors during the manufacturing phase was adjusting the efficiency of the air conditioning system to suit the specific climatic conditions in the country and the nature of operation in school transport.

Fadil Atallah, manager of ET’s Technical Development Department, said that the current distance travelled by the bus is 100 km, and that is under harsh and optimum operating conditions, including maximum power operation of air conditioning systems and all other electronics, adding that the distance travelled under normal operating conditions is 150 km.

To support the operation of the new bus, the installation of two (2) charging stations are planned.  The first is to be located at an Emirates Transport bus terminal and one at a site owned by Shanghai Sunwin Bus Cooperation’s local partner, Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE). These charging stations will be capable of fully charging the bus in around 4 hours.

The Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation’s products are solely distributed in the UAE by Swaidan Trading, a part of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group.  The Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation, is a joint venture between SAIC Motor Co LtdVolvo (China) Investment Corp, and Volvo Bus Corporation.

Ajit Kumar, COO of Commercial, Transport and Electrical for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, said: “Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is very proud to be associated with this prestigious project initiated by Emirates Transport and we are fully geared to provide the necessary support together with our Principal, Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation. Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is a pioneer in providing E-mobility solutions to the UAE government, as a result of our close and strategic partnerships with leading commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Sunwin.”

Sources: Official Press Release; ConstructionWeekOnline.com: ET unit links $13m contracts to provide 200 cars in Dubai; UAE’s ET unveils China-made zero-emission school bus; and  Clean Technica: Emirates Transport Launching First All-Electric School Bus In Region

IC Bus Unviels Its All-New chargE Electric School Bus

November 7, 2017 – IC Bus is following the trend of major school bus manufacturers creating all electric school buses by unveiled the IC Electric Bus chargE™, its new electric CE Series concept school bus developed with its alliance partner, Volkswagen Truck & Bus. The chargE was designed to give customers a zero-emissions school bus option while lowering the total cost of ownership and offering user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance. The company unveiled the chargE at the 2017 National Association for Pupil Transportation Annual Conference and Trade Show, and expects to launch its first unit as early as 2019.

IC Electric Bus, the chargE (PRNewsfoto/IC Bus)

The new chargE concept electric school bus incorporates a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus that is quiet, does not produce any emissions, and can be built to address any school bus customer’s specific requirements. The range of the chargE can exceed 120 miles, while the powertrain can deliver up to 260 kW (about 349 peak horsepower).

“The chargE demonstrates how our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus is allowing us to move even faster into electric powertrains and other advanced technologies, thanks to our ability to leverage both companies’ technology investments and components,” said Bill Kozek, senior vice president, Strategic Initiatives, Navistar.

“Additionally, our electric school bus is another example of how IC Bus is driving the future of school bus transportation by providing a wide range of powertrain solutions, including electric propulsion, propane, gasoline and diesel,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus.

“We’re proud to introduce our electric powertrain concept vehicle engineered to meet the demands of the 21st century school bus industry,” noted Reed. “As battery technology evolves, we continue to explore a variety of electric technologies to meet our customers’ needs in the final design of the CE Series electric-powered school bus.”

At the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta this past September, Navistar and Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group announced plans to develop an electric-powered, medium-duty vehicle for Navistar’s Core (U.S. and Canada) market, which it also expects to launch as early as 2019. The chargE concept vehicle represents the second electric powertrain vehicle coming out of the alliance built with a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

“We are embracing technology and innovation that make drivers safer and more satisfied, while providing the school bus industry with vehicles that are safe, reliable and efficient,” said Reed. “IC Bus leads the school bus industry in uptime through a powerful combination of manufacturing excellent products and having the industry’s strongest dealer network that keeps our customers’ buses on the road.”

Only time will tell how the market responds to this new influx of electric school buses and how committed IC is at pushing the technology forward.  “Our electric school bus is another example of how IC Bus is driving the future of school bus transportation by providing a wide range of powertrain solutions, including electric propulsion, propane, gasoline and diesel,” said IC Bus Vice President and General Manager Trish Reed. She added, “As battery technology evolves, we continue to explore a variety of electric technologies to meet our customers’ needs in the final design of the CE Series electric-powered school bus.”

If IC is really serious about pushing this electric school bus technology, they should set up a grant program similar to what they have done for their propane bus grant program.

To learn more about the all-new IC Bus CE Series electric-powered school bus and many more purposeful innovations, visit the IC Bus online at www.icbus.com.

Sources: AutoblogAutomotiveworldPRNewswire

IC Bus Launches A $5,000 Grant Program to Help School Districts Purchase New Propane-Powered CE Series School Buses

August 24, 2017 – Today IC Bus announced a new grant program that provides school districts with incentives to add propane-powered school buses to their fleets.

The IC Bus Grant Program will offer qualifying school districts throughout the United States and Canada $5,000 in grants per newly purchased propane-powered CE Series school buses.  This grant gives those school districts that would like or are planning to make the switch to propane more flexibility in their purchase decision. The grant can be used towards items such as buying additional buses, investing in new technology, hiring additional drivers, infrastructure updates to maintenance facilities, among other uses that the school district prioritizes.

IC's propane powered CE bus
IC’s propane powered CE bus

“With today’s advanced propane-powered buses offering an added dimension of environmental benefit, IC Bus is committed to doing what’s right for our customers and for the environment, to create a better world by creating better buses,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus. “School districts frequently stress to us their desire to pursue environmentally friendly fuel choices. The IC Bus Grant Program reaffirms our commitment to continue developing affordable, reliable, safe and environmentally beneficial school bus options.”

The IC Bus® CE Series school bus powered by the Power Solutions International (PSI) 8.8-liter LP propane engine is purpose-built for the school bus industry. The CE Series with PSI propane engine is designed to provide diesel-like performance with higher torque at lower engine speeds, while lowering emissions and reducing maintenance costs.

ESBC’s Take

IC Bus is pushing propane buses as a more environmentally friendly choice over diesel.  While propane is thought of as not harmful when spilt and emits less pollutant, it is still produced from crude oil and must be transported and stored in many of the same ways as diesel.  It is also interesting that they have created a grant program instead of just lowering the cost of the buses.  IC buses most have determined that a grant program would offer some sort of tax benefits or goodwill for the company.  It will also be interesting to see if IC Bus creates a similar grant program for there currently released chargE electric school bus.

For complete IC Bus Grant Program rules, contact your IC Bus dealer or visit http://www.icbus.com.

Source:  IC bus press release

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