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Old 05-21-2016, 12:19 PM   #1
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Hybrid school bus, is it possible?

Hi, I was just throwing this out there. Of course I'm going to convert my bus first. But. Is it possible to replace and rewire the engine to make the bus a hybrid, and if so how. If you can id like a ballpark on how much it'd cost. I'm really new at this and want to make my bus eco friendly because I feel bad driving a Diesel engine. So if you could help me out with that I'd appreciate it!

Thank you very much!
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:34 PM   #2
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Anything is possible with enough money. I've never done this kind of conversion but I'm betting it's very expensive.
Why do you feel bad driving a diesel? ? ? They are more efficient for power than a big gas engine. If it's blowing smoke than something is wrong with it? I have a 1968 2 stroke diesel engine in my bus that is built on technology from the 50's, granted it was rebuilt about 10k miles ago, but it doesn't smoke at all! These trucks you see with "got smoke? " stickers and bellowing black smoke have an engine that is NOT set up correctly and shouldn't be blowing smoke!
I'm all for taking care of our environment but at what cost? ? How far ahead are states like California that is forcing people to destroy working vehicles just because they put out like 10% more emissions than newer cars just to fill up the land fills?
Example ; say you convert yours to a hybrid.... What are you going to do with the old parts? What about the power and resources to make the new parts you need and the hazardous battery bank? Batteries last less when used in such high demand do they need to be replaced more often, more waste. Then you have the resources such as electricity, welding materials, waste products and etc for doing the conversion.

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box. This was absolutely not towards you! I don't know you? Sounds like you have good intensions. I'm frustrated with the subject of climate change not you.
I do think a hybrid would be pretty cool. I thought about designing one as a rock crawler once.

One thing to keep in mind is fuel driven hp is NOT the same as electronically driven hp. I don't have exact equation but it's something like half or less. Meaning a 300hp engine could be replaced by a 150hp electric motor.i don't know why.
FWIW
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:47 PM   #3
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Anything is possible with enough money. I've never done this kind of conversion but I'm betting it's very expensive.
Why do you feel bad driving a diesel? ? ? They are more efficient for power than a big gas engine. If it's blowing smoke than something is wrong with it? I have a 1968 2 stroke diesel engine in my bus that is built on technology from the 50's, granted it was rebuilt about 10k miles ago, but it doesn't smoke at all! These trucks you see with "got smoke? " stickers and bellowing black smoke have an engine that is NOT set up correctly and shouldn't be blowing smoke!
I'm all for taking care of our environment but at what cost? ? How far ahead are states like California that is forcing people to destroy working vehicles just because they put out like 10% more emissions than newer cars just to fill up the land fills?
Example ; say you convert yours to a hybrid.... What are you going to do with the old parts? What about the power and resources to make the new parts you need and the hazardous battery bank? Batteries last less when used in such high demand do they need to be replaced more often, more waste. Then you have the resources such as electricity, welding materials, waste products and etc for doing the conversion.

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box. This was absolutely not towards you! I don't know you? Sounds like you have good intensions. I'm frustrated with the subject of climate change not you.
I do think a hybrid would be pretty cool. I thought about designing one as a rock crawler once.

One thing to keep in mind is fuel driven hp is NOT the same as electronically driven hp. I don't have exact equation but it's something like half or less. Meaning a 300hp engine could be replaced by a 150hp electric motor.i don't know why.
FWIW
Eric

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Thanks! I was just wondering if it was a good idea and I sure have my answer now XD. The cost is probably to much for me anyways. I was just wondering possible alternatives, I hadn't researched quite as much as I should have.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:25 PM   #4
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As an example, one of the city bus companies was selling a bunch of hybrid bus parts on GovLiquidation. I'd never seen that before. The parts were all sold in lots of 10, so it was above the average man to purchase those parts. I would like to have 10 bus sized battery packs. Point is if a bus company couldn't make it work and sold off the parts, what chance do we have?
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:51 PM   #5
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Someone did an electric semi tractor once (I'll chase down the ref if anyone is interested) but it was clearly a 'how silly!' conversion: the battery pack would nearly exceed your vehicle rating. Hybrids would be better than straight electric (smaller pack) but then you would need a gas or diesel engine TOO...

Electric HP gets more done because they develop 100% torque from a standstill, which is not the way IC engines behave. 'Course you need wires the size of a horse's leg.

Assuage your green conscience by reminding yourself that you are doing one heck of a repurposing.
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:21 PM   #6
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our city locality bought 20 Gillig Hybrid Busses 10 years ago... today they only have 2... a friend of mine that drives for the city transit says those busses were a lot of trouble...

the current consensus on clean energy is running COmpressed Natural Gas... my city is running I think he said 80% CNG busses now and they are very reliable... of course those busses are easy to spot as the very large tanks are on the roof...

when asked why the tabks werent in the basement area... it was stated because of safety... a Bus is Much more likely to be struck in the side by a car or truck than it is to flip... CNG is something to consider as the engines are very similar to a standard diesel with just a different fuel delivery system.. as least thats how he explained it to me.. and also how it looked when he showed me under the rear bonnet of his route bus...

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
Someone did an electric semi tractor once (I'll chase down the ref if anyone is interested) but it was clearly a 'how silly!' conversion: the battery pack would nearly exceed your vehicle rating. Hybrids would be better than straight electric (smaller pack) but then you would need a gas or diesel engine TOO...

Electric HP gets more done because they develop 100% torque from a standstill, which is not the way IC engines behave. 'Course you need wires the size of a horse's leg.

Assuage your green conscience by reminding yourself that you are doing one heck of a repurposing.
when I had my chevy volt that was one of the really neat things about it.. was that it produced maximum torque very quickly off the line... from the factory there was a delay built in to "simulate more standard cars"... but once we got into it's computer and removed that part of the program... woooeeee that chevy volt would slam your head back pulling into traffic in all electric mode..
-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re CNG: be sure there are refueling facilities where you will be. I was dismayed to find a cheap CNG bus but no way to refuel it as I drove it across country or in Idaho where I wish to relocate.
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:28 PM   #9
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Cincinnati has some hybrid buses, they cost about $150,000 more than a normal bus, the estimates are that they will save a whole $8000 in fuel over their life span, not worth the effort

another company is rebuilding old transit buses as electric buses and they cost about the same as a new transit bus and have about a 120 mile range, so good for an 8 hour shift in most cities, I think we will see many of these in the future
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:10 PM   #10
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...another company is rebuilding old transit buses as electric buses and they cost about the same as a new transit bus and have about a 120 mile range, so good for an 8 hour shift in most cities, I think we will see many of these in the future
Huh - maybe my response was premature. But I'm guessing the battery costs would dampen one's enthusiasm: a battery bank for a small to medium car is on the order of a thousand bucks or two, and needs to be replaced every few years.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:14 PM   #11
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There are a lot of really nice looking CNG buses for cheap usually. Most people don't have access to a CNG fueling station. In cities you can get a CNG compressor that fills your car, so it's possible to do that with a bus too if you can find one of those home fueling compressors.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:37 PM   #12
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All-Electric School Bus Approved In One Day In California

Just to give you a jumping off point...
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:02 PM   #13
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https://youtu.be/_bRVhyNX9xM

That's pretty bad ass. 13 cents per mile to operate and it can support a small power grid during power outages. Bad news is it's going to take at least 30 charges for you to get across the US. 100 miles at a time.

And they will convert older buses.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:08 PM   #14
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Solar panels and regenerative braking might get you 125 miles
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
Cincinnati has some hybrid buses, they cost about $150,000 more than a normal bus, the estimates are that they will save a whole $8000 in fuel over their life span, not worth the effort

another company is rebuilding old transit buses as electric buses and they cost about the same as a new transit bus and have about a 120 mile range, so good for an 8 hour shift in most cities, I think we will see many of these in the future

yeah columbus had them too... are cincy's the gilligs? thats what ours were.. my COTA driver friend said they had to run them for 10 years to keep the grant money unless they completely failed or were destroyed due to accident, fire, etc... I know most of them were up last year and they dumped all but the 2.. which I think are this year or next...

does dayton still run the electric busses? although those werent battery they were more trolleys on overhead wires but they were not on rail tracks...

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MartinEm View Post
Hi, I was just throwing this out there. Of course I'm going to convert my bus first. But. Is it possible to replace and rewire the engine to make the bus a hybrid, and if so how. If you can id like a ballpark on how much it'd cost. I'm really new at this and want to make my bus eco friendly because I feel bad driving a Diesel engine. So if you could help me out with that I'd appreciate it!

Thank you very much!
Martinem,

Welcome to our community(I'm new as well), If eco friendly is your concern, I think you should look into vegetable oil conversions, the conversion is relatively simple (but complicated enough for me not to bother) and will be eco friendly as you desire, also you'll still be able to use regular diesel if you don't have any vege oil around.

Most importantly, there are many people who have done it in many kinds of diesels and skoolies, which means you'll be able to find a lot more resources and guidance to help you with a "how to". The basic WVO(waste vegetable oil) concept is that when heated, vegetable oil has very similar properties to diesel and can run a car, so you use a heating element (perhaps your rear radiator?), to heat the oil and then you flick a switch which pumps that into your engine. I am not an expert though, you'll obviously have to look into this on your own.

That said, using the oil as not as simple as pouring it into your gas tank (unless you use new virgin oil), you have to go through a time consuming cleaning process to filter out all of the gunk.

I met a guy who had a diesel van converted into a WVO van, and it was a pretty slick setup, I stuck my face by his exhaust for a solid 15-30 seconds and I still don't have cancer. FYI: he said his setup cost about 1,000.

edit: If you're serious about doing mechanical changes to your vehicle like this, I think it would be wise to do this BEFORE your conversion. That way if your vehicle decides to disappoint you, you'll be less committed to it.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinEm View Post
Hi, I was just throwing this out there. Of course I'm going to convert my bus first. But. Is it possible to replace and rewire the engine to make the bus a hybrid, and if so how. If you can id like a ballpark on how much it'd cost. I'm really new at this and want to make my bus eco friendly because I feel bad driving a Diesel engine. So if you could help me out with that I'd appreciate it!

Thank you very much!
I don't want to sound like a jerk but I will to get my message across with as few words as possible.

Forget about the bus and buy yourself an all electric Fiat. A hybrid engine for a bus runs about $250,000. I haven't read all the posts so I don't know what else has been said but forget about being eco friendly an driving a bus. Anyone that says different is a LIAR, plain and simple. So park your ridiculous ideas and join the skoolie movement or don't. Just stop with the fairytale notions.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:27 PM   #18
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It does sort of seem like an oxymoron... An ecologically friendly bus?! Lol
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:28 PM   #19
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[but I think you got some honest and valuable advice]
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:35 PM   #20
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[but I think you got some honest and valuable advice]
It's a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee because I'd be really pissed.
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