The US Dept. of Energy has awarded Navistar up to $10 million to share the costs of developing and rolling out 60 new and improved plug-in hybrid electric school buses to fleets across the country as part of a multi-year project.
Ten million dollars would fund half the project's estimated costs. The award was made under the federal government Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology Acceleration and Deployment Activity program.
The award is concrete evidence of how federal government investment in "green" technology--in this case transportation technology--can help stimulate economic activity and job creation while at the same time addressing critical issues including climate change, environmental degradation and energy security.
“Navistar is proud to work with the Department of Energy on a project that will help reduce fuel consumption and emissions while reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil,” Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO, stated in a media release.
“By using plug-in electric vehicle technology in school buses, we have the privilege and opportunity to allow a generation of U.S. children to grow up with the expectation that, as part of their everyday commute to school, electric transportation is a reality.”
“These projects will help move technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace by improving their durability, reducing their costs, and validating their performance in real-world settings,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu added in a statement released on Friday.
Navistar's IC Bus is the only manufacturer that offers a PHEV school bus at present. the new project aims to further develop the PHEV bus so that they are capable of driving in all-electric mode for extended periods. As envisioned, the new models will have engine-off driving capability, saving fuel and reducing emissions while being propelled solely by electricity.
Navistar is pitching the benefits of its IC buses to schools around the country as part of a program in the run-up to this year's Earth Day celebrations.