HomeGreen BusNREL Chooses Zonar Systems for Electric School Bus Project

NREL Chooses Zonar Systems for Electric School Bus Project

A federal program aimed at developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric school buses announced that Zonar Systems has been chosen to help the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to obtain and use necessary drive cycle data.

The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Program funds NREL’s research on HEV, PHEV and BEV school buses, which the feds say can produce lower tailpipe emissions and lower fuel costs for school bus operators. A goal of the program is to also develop appropriate batteries that are connected to the grid using bi-directional chargers to create potential revenue for school districts when the buses are plugged in.

NREL said it chose Zonar because of the quality of research data it can provide to facilitate the development of these “next generation green buses.”

“Zonar’s products have been proven to provide the necessary data to help reduce fuel consumption, reduce idle time and enhance vehicle maintenance all of which lead to a cleaner environment,” the NREL said in a release.

One school district already participating in the study is Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colo. David Anderson, the district’s transportation director, said Adams 12 is sharing school bus data captured by Zonar GPS products with NREL. According to NREL and Zonar, such data is necessary to “appropriately design” these hybrid and electric buses. For example, driving characteristics and distance are important factors in determining the size of an on-board electric battery. School bus usage profiles can validate the battery requirements.

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