HIGH POINT, N.C. – Some $12.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds awarded to state of Kentucky helped 13 school districts purchase 20 Saf-T-Liner C2 ehybrids from Thomas Built Buses.
Thomas called the orders the largest concentration of hybrid school buses in the nation. Meanwhile, the ARRA funds will be used to to replace up to 200 of Kentucky's oldest school buses over the next year.
“We welcome the opportunity offered by this federal grant to prove the new technology in our local school districts,” said Dave Mangum, a transportation consultant with the Kentucky State Department of Education.
Rural LaRue County Public Schools in western Kentucky was the first to begin receiving the hybrid buses on July 27. The other bookend to the orders is Kenton County School District located south of Cincinnati, which Thomas said will receive its bus next on Oct. 15. Other school districts receiving Thomas hybrids are: Allen County Schools; Pike County Schools; Corbin Independent Schools; Franklin County Schools; Frankfort Independent Schools; Covington Independent Schools; Marion County Schools; Martin County Schools; Simpson County Schools; Whitley County Schools; and Breathitt County Schools.
The school buses were distributed by Thomas dealer Whayne Supply Company based out of Louisville, Ky.
The Thomas Saf-T-Liner hybrid C2e hybrids are powered by a 2010 EPA-compliant Cummins diesel engines, coupled with an Eaton hybrid-electric parallel system. Developed jointly by Thomas Built Buses, Eaton Corporation and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, a company release stated that the fuel-saving hybrid technology leverages Thomas’ years of experience as an innovator in the school bus industry. The regenerative configuration also allows schools to operate the new buses without adding infrastructure for plug-in recharging stations.
“There is a lot of buzz about hybrid buses, but Thomas Built Buses is the first and only company that is able to deliver school buses with hybrid technology in Kentucky at this time.” said Ken Hedgecock, Thomas Built Buses' vice president of sales, marketing and service.
Thomas added that its hybrid Saf-T-Liner C2e are expected to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy by 30 percent or more. In addition to fuel economy, the hybrid buses promise reduced brake wear, less component maintenance and cleaner, quieter operation.