IC Bus introduced the IC Electric Bus chargE, its new electric CE Series concept school bus developed with its alliance partner, Volkswagen Truck & Bus. IC Bus says the chargE was designed to give customers a zero-emissions school bus option while lowering the total cost of ownership and offering user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance. The company expects to launch its first unit of the chargeE as early as 2019.

"The chargE demonstrates how our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus is allowing us to move even faster into electric powertrains and other advanced technologies, thanks to our ability to leverage both companies' technology investments and components," said Bill Kozek, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Navistar.

"Additionally, our electric school bus is another example of how IC Bus is driving the future of school bus transportation by providing a wide range of powertrain solutions, including electric propulsion, propane, gasoline, and diesel," said Trish Reed, Vice President and General Manager, IC Bus.

The chargE concept electric school bus incorporates a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus that is designed to be quiet, does not produce emissions, and can be built to address a school bus customer's specific requirements. The range of the chargE can reportedly exceed 120 miles, while the powertrain can deliver up to 260 kW (about 349 peak horsepower).

"We're proud to introduce our electric powertrain concept vehicle engineered to meet the demands of the 21st century school bus industry," noted Reed. "As battery technology evolves, we continue to explore a variety of electric technologies to meet our customers' needs in the final design of the CE Series electric-powered school bus."

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in September, Navistar and Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group announced plans to develop an electric-powered, medium-duty vehicle for Navistar's Core (U.S. and Canada) market, which it also expects to launch as early as 2019. The chargE concept vehicle represents the second electric powertrain vehicle coming out of the alliance built with a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

"We are embracing technology and innovation that make drivers safer and more satisfied, while providing the school bus industry with vehicles that are safe, reliable, and efficient," said Reed. "IC Bus leads the school bus industry in uptime through a powerful combination of manufacturing excellent products and having the industry's strongest dealer network that keeps our customers' buses on the road."