Manatee District makes history with America's first hybrid schoolbuses

Submitted by Manatee School District
2007-04-02 16:36:43

Manatee District Makes History

Superintendent Roger Dearing talks to the media about the district's new hybrid buses.

(BRADENTON, FL - March 9, 2007) A feeling of pride and a sense of the pioneering spirit were in the air on the morning of March 9, 2007 when the Manatee County School District became the first school district in the country to incorporate hybrid buses into its fleet under the Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project.

Manufactured by the IC Corporation and Enova Systems, Inc., the hybrid buses provide 70 to 100 percent better fuel economy and a 90 percent reduction in diesel engine emissions.

“This is a momentous day in school bus transportation history,” said Randy Ray, manager of bus product development for IC Corporation. “This is a first in America and Manatee County deserves a lot of credit for leading the way.”

During the ceremony, held in the parking lot at Braden River High, Ray presented Superintendent Dr. Roger Dearing with the keys to the district's two newest buses.

“This is an exciting day for all of us and I want you to know that this is the result of a huge team effort,” Dearing said. “The School Board stepped forward unanimously to support this project with the help of the County Commission and the full cooperation of our district's Transportation Department headed by Kathy Braselton and Don Ross.”

As Dearing spoke, the new hybrid buses were on display behind the speaker's podium. On the outside, the buses look like traditional school buses with the exception of a place on the passenger's side to plug in an electrical extension cord for charging purposes. Under the hood, however, the difference is more pronounced.

The hybrid school bus combines an International VT365 V8 diesel engine with the 25/80-kilowatt hybrid-electric powertrain which includes a transmission, batteries and an electric motor. The hybrid buses are also outfitted with a GPS system which will help school district officials monitor and measure the buses' movements and fuel mileage.

William Ung, a junior at Manatee High, and Emily Mulrine, a 6th grader at Lee Middle School, were also at the unveiling ceremony. Ung and Mulrine won a district wide contest to name the two new buses.

Ung submitted the name “Wouk” in honor of Victor Wouk, a pioneer in developing the hybrid engine. Mulrine submitted the name “Limpio” which is Spanish for clean. The names were printed in green on the sides of the respective buses.

“I'm kind of proud that I named the bus,” Ung said. “But, I'm more proud that the state and the school district are looking for ways to use alternative energy sources.”

Emily Mulrine and William Ung named the new buses.

Mulrine shared a similar sentiment. “It's exciting that the name I chose is going to be on the hybrid bus and it's great that these buses are going to help the environment,” she said.

The Manatee District buses are the first of 19 hybrid buses awarded nationally by Advanced Energy, a non-profit corporation that put together a consortium of school districts, state energy agencies and student transportation providers.

“It's important with our young people today to show leadership,” said Manatee County School Board Chairman Harry Kinnan. “By becoming the first school district in the country to have hybrid buses, we're providing an example of leadership to our students.”

For more information on hybrid buses, visit

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