Your EV may go a long way between charges, but can it carry dozens of passengers? GreenPower can boast both of those things with its latest electric school bus called “Mega Beast,” it announced in a press release spotted by Electrek. A massive 387 kWh battery supplies nearly 300 miles of range and it can carry up to 90 people — around three classrooms full of kids.
The long wheelbase Type D model features “the longest range and has the biggest battery pack in the school bus market,” GreenPower said. It uses a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack that offers high energy density and a longer life span, but a higher initial cost.
Mega Beast is a souped up version of GreenPower’s regular 140 mile range, 197.3 kWh Beast (“Beast” stands for “battery electric automotive school transportation”). Along with double the battery size, it offers better hill-climbing power, the company wrote.
Why the need for so much range, when buses usually do just two runs per day? This version is designed for longer range routes at rural schools, for example, or school districts that can’t necessarily charge a bus at mid-day. It’s also aimed at regions with “extreme weather conditions and schools that also use the all-electric bus for extra-curricular activities.”
Large electric school buses with around 100 miles of range can cost $300,000 to $400,000, up to four times the price of a diesel-powered school bus. However, maintenance costs are lower and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched the Clean School Bus Program providing $5 billion over five years to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. Other companies building electric buses include Daimler via its Thomas-Built Buses division, along with Blue Bird.