ELION ELECTRIC TYPE C SCHOOLBUS ON THE ROAD
California is one of the first American states that has a Type C full-size schoolbus on the road. Billed as the only electric Type C school bus built in North America, the eLion looks pretty much like the typical big, yellow school bus, albeit with a more modern face. Below its long, yellow shell, though, the eLion loses the typical diesel powertrain in favor of a TM4 electric motor wired to three to five battery packs. Three battery packs power the bus for up to 50 miles (80 km); four packs go 75 miles (121 km); and five packs bring it up to 100 (161 km).
The eLion has a touchscreen display which provides battery and system information. eLion customers can further select from several battery options. Charging the eLion batteries takes between 4 and 6.5 hours with the standard charger, and eLion plans to launch a fast charger later this year. eLion power comes from a TM4 electric motor
The standard 19.2-kW onboard charger gets the three packs charged in around 3.9 hours, four packs in 5.2 hours and five packs in 6.5 hours. eLion also plans to launch a fast charger option later this year, bringing times down to between 1.5 and 2.5 hours.
The manufacturer says that the eLion has a power comparable to a diesel bus, along with the ability to climb 20 percent grades. Meanwhile, the company says operators can save up to US$13,000 a year on fuel costs and $3,000 on maintenance, seeing a return on investment in six years.
The company began commercializing the eLion about a year ago and has since delivered more than 50 buses to school districts and private contractors. eLion, being a Canadian company, is planning a manufacturing facility in California.