Navistar will join the likes of GM, Ford and Toyota in an electric-vehicle tour, what is being described as and "ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment.”
The seven-city "electrical vehicle experience tour" includes stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle this month and events in Austin, Texas, New York and Washington, D.C., later this spring as the automotive industry and consumers will join together on test drives and educational workshops. Other participating companies are Smith Electric Vehicles, Mitsubishi, Coda, Smart, and THINK.
While it's unlikely that the IC Bus CE Series PHEV conventional school bus utilizing an Eaton or Enova hybrid systems or the Collins NexBus Hybrid Type A hybrid powered by an Azure Dynamics drive on a Ford E-450 chassis will be shown, these companies are utilizing certain aspects of the technology that will be demonstrated and discussed.
There are less than 1,000 hybrid-electric school buses in use nationwide from IC Bus, Collins Bus and Thomas Built Buses as consumers still bristle at price tag, which were at one time double the cost of a traditional, diesel-powered school bus. We hear the cost is coming down but the vehicles are still at a premium of tens of thousands of dollars more. That is a real concern among cash-strapped school districts, especially when long-term federal and state tax incentives for alternative fuels are in doubt.
Meanwhile, advocates say that school bus operators must factor in the total life-cycle costs of the school buses over 15 to 20 years, including maintenance and operation costs such as fuel.