The big yellow bus, or “The Cheese” as today’s youths call it, is a mainstay of most Americans youth. Whether you took the bus to school or not, you’ve seen them, you’ve driven behind them, and, at one time or another, you’ve peeled yourself off the hot sticky vinyl. Well, the days of the old ragged, exhaust spewing school bus are drawing to an end, thanks to developments on a hybrid-plug-in school bus.
It should be noted that despite its drawbacks, taking the bus to school is still the most efficient way to get to and from school (unless you live in walking distance, which most children do not). However, more than 20 million students are currently riding to school in a bus that was built before 1990, and while the government has been spending money to update these behemoths with catalytic converters, as well as other techniques that can help limit harmful emissions, it is time for a new solution.
The Department of Energy is searching hard for that solution, and they are putting their money where their collective mouths are. They have set aside $10 million dollars over the next three years to help subsidize about half the cost of the Navistar Corporation to develop, test, and churn out a hybrid-plug-in school bus. The goal is to produce a vehicle that can go 40 miles on one charge.
The plan is endorsed by the Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, who is a Nobel-prize winning Physicist who has made it clear that the United States needs to act now to stem the flow toward global warming. Chu hopes that investing in these types of technologies will create new jobs for Americans, while cutting our dependence on foreign oil. Needless to say, the greatest beneficiary of this technology will be the school students who do not have to breathe in toxic fumes twice daily.
The project calls for 60 initial green buses, but will pave the way for the school bus industry into the future, making “Cheeses” a thing of the past. I don’t think we’re going to miss them.