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Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Title: Electric school bus with zebra battery and integrated fast charge. Final report

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Sacramento Municipal Utility District Electric Transportation Department

Contract Number: ICAT 01-1

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: ICAT Grants / Technology, Mobile Sources & Fuels


The ZEBRA Electric School Bus Project was accomplished with funding from the California Air Resources Board under ICAT Grant 01-1, in addition to funding from other project partners. This project shows how a currently available battery and drive system technology is being used to reliably provide school bus service. As of the writing of this report, the bus has been fielded now for 14 months and 9936 miles. The bus has provided regular service, completing both a morning trip and an afternoon trip picking up and delivering students to Napa Valley Unified School District.

The bus utilizes a Sodium Nickel Chloride ZEBRA battery, advanced Siemens Drive System, and modern CAN Bus linked microprocessor control for a very high level of integration. The possibilities for cost reduction and performance improvements with this control scheme have only begun to be realized. This bus addresses all of the market barriers encountered by early BlueBird TCEV 2000 electric school busses originally fitted with lead acid batteries and Northrup Grumman drive systems.

This final report describes the technologies, reliability, costs, and performance of the bus. The design of subsystems and their assembly into the bus is discussed. Actual performance of the bus shows how this vehicle system is ideally suited for school bus service. Lessons learned and prospects for the future service of this bus are also described.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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