The latest all-electric school bus is set for production with the announcement of the 48-passenger Starcraft eQuest XL. It's expected to be available to customers this summer.
The new zero-emissions bus built on a Ford F59 chassis is the result of partnership between dealer Creative Bus Sales and electric powertrain manufacturer Motiv Power Systems. The companies said the eQuest XL promises a range of up to 85 miles on a single charge and a 50-percent recharge within two hours. A spokesman at Starcraft said the Goshen, Indiana company's only involvement in the project is to provide the bus body for upfitting.
The new eQuest XL could compete with the TransTech SST-e, an up to 32-passenger Type-A bus that is also powered by Motiv and was released in 2013. The only factory-built, all-electric, traditional Type C conventional currently on the market is the eLion from Canadian manufacturer Lion Bus, though an electric conversion of Blue Bird diesel buses are available through a partnership between ADOMANI Inc. and A-Z Bus Sales. TransPower also converts diesel school buses to electric.
“Developing more options for all-electric school buses offers more opportunities for school districts to reduce harmful pollutants near children who are especially vulnerable to health impacts from diesel emissions,” said Motiv founder and CEO Jim Castelaz. “We’re thrilled to be working with Creative Bus Sales to help improve conditions for students’ health, save districts on fuel costs, and support California’s environmental goals.”
The Starcraft eQuest XL is upfitted with an electric drive system by Green Alternative Systems onto the F59 chassis.
“After making our mark with compressed natural gas up-fits, we are thrilled to be able to collaborate with Motiv and offer an all-electric option to our customers,” said Mark Matijevich, general manager of GAS. “Greening the nation’s fleets is not a one-size-fits-all solution; between CNG, propane and now an all-electric option, we continue to guide schools and commercial fleets towards the best options to fit their operational needs while reducing their carbon footprints.”
The all-electric Type is is the second foray by Creative Bus Sales into alternative fuel offerings. It unveiled the variable-fuel QuestXL from Starcraft at the 2014 STN EXPO.