An icon goes electric First all-electric school bus introduced.

The North American Daimler subsidiary Thomas Built Buses introduced its first all-electric school bus for series production. Starting 2019, the “Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric Bus“ or short „Jouley“ will drive up to 81 kids all over America to school – safely, quietly and emission-free.

The yellow bus is the symbol of all school buses in North America, and it’s made by Thomas Built Buses — a Daimler subsidiary that specializes in school buses. This bus model is called the Saf-T-Liner. The name refers to its high level of safety, though in Germany the association that usually comes to mind is “saft,” which means juice. In any case, the model is an outstanding example of traditional vehicle design.

At least the outside of it is. Under the bonnet, the Saf-T-Liner is an example of innovation throughout. The iconic body, which people assume has remained unchanged over the past decades, is now full of top-of-the-line technology. In fact, the yellow buses will soon be operating as “green” buses, because they will be fully electrified. Starting in 2019, Thomas Built Buses produce school buses that are not only safe but also silent and clean. They are the first-ever fully electric school buses in series production.

This yellow giant, which can transport as many as 81 kids to school and back, was given the friendly-sounding name of “Jouley” by the colleagues at Thomas Built Buses. The name is based on “joule,” the standard unit of energy. And because Jouley is bursting with energy, it likes to give some of it back. On the way to school or back home, the kids can easily recharge their laptops and smartphones inside the bus.

Its story began in 1916 in the small town of High Point in North Carolina. There, a Canadian streetcar builder called Perley Thomas, had just lost his job. With a startup spirit that would not be unusual today, he set up his own company and soon was producing streetcars for urban local transportation companies. In the 1930s, cars and city buses started to replace streetcars. Thomas recognized this trend early on and proceeded to reinvent himself and his company yet again. By 1936 he had cut back his streetcar production to zero and launched a new product on the market: the school bus. 1998 the school bus producer became part of the Daimler family as one of its commercial vehicle brands.

The Saf-T Liner C2 Electric is equipped with PowerDrive 7000ev from Efficient Drivetrains, Inc., a specialist in electric powertrains. The battery power is 100 to 160 kWh. This enables a range of up to 100 miles (or 160 kilometers). With additional battery modules there is the opportunity to increase the range.

The vehicle is controlled by our PowerSuite vehicle control software and PowerTracker telematics and diagnostics system. These tools monitor the location of the bus and vehicle condition in real time.

The Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric is slated to be in limited production in 2019.

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