"But Mom, I didn't hear the bus....that's why I missed it."
Schoolkids everywhere will have another excuse for missing the bus as electric buses hit the road . . . very quietly. There are nearly half a million school buses in the US but despite the advent of the Chevy Volt and Telsa Model S, each morning children continue to hear that diesel engine coming up the street. Until now that is, in San Joaquin Valley, Calif, where the local school district began using buses powered by an electric powertrain from Motiv Power Systems which also powers other heavy duty trucks. There are benefits to Electric buses other than the obvious lack of emissions while running from stop to stop. Like other large vehicles, they are often idling, especially to power heat and air conditioning while waiting for occupants to enter or exit. Also, buses spend a lot of time in the middle of the school day sitting around waiting for lessons to be over. During this time (which is often a high electrical demand part of the day) electric buses could be used to help balance the electrical grid by discharging part of the energy stored in their batteries to balance load or for frequency response.
As for Motiv, this could be the start of something big for them and it looks as if they have at least started dong some research to support this possibility as at least one patent has been granted to this company covering a system to help balance a charge within a battery pack, the kind of thing that could help a school bus run a little bit better . . .