Electric vehicles have made inroad in the luxury market with the Tesla Model S, and a handful of compacts like the Fiat 500e, the Chevrolet Spark EV and Ford Focus Electric are sold in limited quantities, primarily in California. So it should come as no surprise that the Golden State is leading the way once again in a EVs with the nation's first electric school bus. By outward appearances, there's not much unusual on this Ford E-450 cutaway bus, other than a conspicuously green bumpers and wheels.

But under the hood, the E-450 has an all-electric drivetrain from Motiv Power Systems. System output is a modest 200 hp, with a massive 885 lb-ft of torque, even more than the new 2015 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. The system takes 8 hours for a full charge and has a range of 80-100 miles. Top speed is a safely prudent 60 mph. The electric conversion is designed as a ship-through modification, similar to that of a natural gas or propane upfit. The buses are available in 18- or 25-passenger capacities and configurable

The Kings Canyon Unified School District in the San Joaquin Valley is expected to save $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs on the electric bus compared to an internal-combustion equivalent. Funding for the purchase came partially from California's Air Quality Improvement program authorized by state assembly bill AB118.

Source: Motiv Power Systems