HomeManagementIncreased Fuel Economy Coming to School Buses Via Transmission Innovations

Increased Fuel Economy Coming to School Buses Via Transmission Innovations

Thomas Built Buses and Allison Transmission are partnering to bring student transporters new fuel-saving technology as standard equipment on the Saf-T-Liner C2, EFX and HDX school bus models, the companies formally announced in a release.

While proprietary to Thomas for its three models staring on Oct. 1 of this year, Allison’s FuelSense will ultimately be available to all school bus manufacturers, said David Nethercut, Thomas’ manager of sales education. He shared specifics on the new packages at the STN EXPO on Tuesday in Reno, Nev., as joining low rolling resistance tires as technology improvements to meet new federal standards for both greenhouse gas emissions reduction and increased fuel economy for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The standard FuelSense offers 5- to 15-percent increase in fuel savings, while two additional options, FuelSense Plus and FuelSense Max, deliver improvements of 6- to 18-percent and 8- to 20-percent, respectively. These numbers, said Nethercut, depend on duty cycle and are compared with fourth-generation controls for Allison 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series.

The base transmission includes fifth generation controls, EcoCal, formerly known as low speed shift schedules that is a defined set of low and “super” low speed shift schedules designed to keep the engine speed at its optimum point. FuelSense also offers dynamic shift sensing, or LBSSS/ABMS/SESS, to automatically select between EcoCal or a higher-speed shift schedule. Thomas said in a statement that EcoCal is based on the vehicle load and the operating grade to provide the best fuel economy and performance for the given operating conditions.

FuelSense Plus adds neutral at stop, formerly RELS and ECLR, while FuelSense Max also offers the previously mentioned improvements as well as acceleration rate management, with replaces the former terminolgy of VAC.

“The addition of FuelSense technology on our school buses allows our customers to lower their total cost of ownership even more by lowering their fuel costs,” said Ken Hedgecock, vice president of sales, marketing and service for Thomas Built Buses, in a statement. “Fuel costs are among the highest annual expenditure for school bus fleets and these new fuel-saving features can deliver significant savings.”


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