Warrenville, Illinois [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] IC Corporation, a school bus manufacturer, and Enova Systems are collaborating on what is said to be the nation’s first hybrid school bus. The prototype, which has a hybrid diesel-electric drive train that is currently undergoing testing, would considerably increase fuel economy. The completed hybrid school bus is expected to be delivered in spring 2006.“IC Corporation and Enova are delivering an integrated solution that allows the customer to attain an approximate 40 percent increase in fuel economy and also greatly reduce emissions,” said Mike Staran, Enova’s vice president of marketing. Enova says it is the nation’s largest school bus manufacturer. The system recovers kinetic energy during braking, charging the batteries while the bus is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, making the hybrid buses ideal because of the frequent starting and stopping of the bus. The project uses Enova’s post-transmission 80 kW Hybrid Drive System and is being evaluated at IC Corporation’s research and technology facility. The initial powertrain for the school bus project will couple an International(R) VT365 V8 diesel engine with an 80 kW hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, batteries and permanent magnet motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture, allowing the system to use both diesel and electric power in a highly efficient manner. “With fuel prices at all-time highs, new innovations in hybrid technology are needed to help customers keep their operating costs lower,” said Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation. “We feel that this technology could provide significantly improved fuel economy. In addition, even though current International diesel engines produce no visible smoke and low emissions, the hybrid program will reduce engine emissions even further.” The hybrid bus project is the continuation of R&D for new technology in a number of different vehicles, particularly hybrid trucks for the utility industry, which is being worked on by International Truck and Engine, IC Corporation’s parent company.