Thomas Built Buses Introduces All-Electric School Bus Called “Jouley”
Series-Production Kid Carrier Seats 81 Kids, Goes 99 Miles Per Charge
Thomas Built Buses, the Ohio-based Daimler Trucks subsidiary, announced its first series-production all-electric school bus. The so-called Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric Bus, nicknamed “Jouley,” is based on the Saf-T-Liner C2 conventional kid hauler (which actually takes a substantial amount of structure from the Freightliner M2 medium-duty chassis). It isn't Daimler's first foray into electric trucks; subsidiary Mitsubishi Fuso just released the all-electric eCanter.
According to Daimler, the emissions-free bus has a maximum seating capacity of 81, with a range of 160 km (99 miles for us Yanks) courtesy of a 160kWh battery. Furthermore, the company says additional battery packs will unlock even greater range, although that baseline of 99 miles is probably enough for most urban and suburban school bus routes.
Thomas Built Buses says the C2 Electric Bus will be capable of a top speed of 65 mph, retaining the same performance as a conventional school bus. Thomas also says that a full charge should take less than eight hours using a conventional SAE J1772 vehicle charger (likely using a 220V outlet). The company touts the electric bus’ reduced operating cost compared to its gas, diesel, and alternative-fuel brethren; no oil changes, reduced brake wear thanks to regenerative braking, and the more stable price of electricity all help Thomas make that claim.
The conventional Saf-T-Liner C2 is available in seven different wheelbases ranging between 158 inches and 279 inches, but it’s not clear if Jouley will feature similar flexibility. Thomas Built Buses promises maximum seating for 81 for the C2 Electric Bus, a number that corresponds to the longest conventional C2. Whether EV will also be available in shorter wheelbases for shuttle, private school, or charter bus use remains to be seen.
Of course, one of the key claims that Thomas and Daimler make is that the C2 Electric Bus is cleaner and quieter than a conventional school bus. With no rumbling engine, Thomas says Jouley is safer for kids because it eliminates exhaust fumes and allows drivers to hear more of their surroundings. Combined with all-electric refuse and delivery trucks (like the ones built by Motiv), suburban mornings could get substantially quieter and less smelly.
Pricing for the C2 Electric Bus is a bit of an unknown at this point, but expect it to cost a fair bit more than its conventionally propelled competitors. However, if its true cost to own is as impressive as Thomas says, it could be worth the investment for many school districts. Expect to see (but not hear) Jouley in suburban neighborhoods sometime in 2019.
Source: Daimler Trucks