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Old 04-01-2024, 07:42 PM   #1
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Lion Electric Schoolie

We picked up a fully electric bus on govt. auction are in the process of converting it! here is the bus charging on our way home from the bus depot here we are removing the seats here is what the motor looks like here is where we are in the demo process

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Old 04-01-2024, 08:26 PM   #2
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First person I've seen start an electric bus build. I will be interested to see how your build progresses. Curious, how do you plan to use it? The range is only 100-155miles per charge from what I've read.
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Old 04-01-2024, 09:39 PM   #3
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What /\ he said?
I'm the mobile mechanic for the International dealer in Spokane WA and work on quite a few school buses for my district customers. The IC electric buses are definitely having some teething issues but we only have a few districts with any and they all received them within the last year. Mostly seems to be programming fixes and such, nothing major but it's definitely been learning as we go. Of course first year is bound to have some issues.
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Old 04-02-2024, 06:39 AM   #4
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there was another here who bought a lion and was on for a short time then we never heard from him again.. his only had 2 of the 3 available battery packs.. not sure what this one has..



Lion was one of the first to release an EV.. there have been issues with them, esp the earlier ones.. the later ones are getting better..



the Busses can be charged at Level 2 stations (most all public stations and home power systems can support level 2).. im not sure what all wattage options are on this particular bus, but most public chargers.. esp the earlier ones max out at 6.6 kw, the leve l2 standard supports up to 19 i believe.. most commonly newer Public level 2 chargers are 11 kw. there are public level 3 (DCFC) chargers which can go upwards of 350 Kw..



ive seen people mock up a plug-in Level 2 charger that can plug into a campground RV outlet.. (people that may bring an EV on a trailer or such and want to recharge it.. ).. theoretically you could recharge the bus on level 2 while parked at a campground if you werent using too much House power.



the previous posts about the EV bus, were I believe talking about how to tap the traction batteries for house power.. im not sure of the provisions the bus has for low voltage power.


something like this could be a really perfect setup for short nearby trips, esp if you can tap the onboard battery system and use solar to recharge it even at a slow rate... but I wouldnt want it if I were trying to traverse the country..
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Old 04-03-2024, 06:42 PM   #5
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We are planning on traveling across the US with it and charging it completely off grid with 10kw solar onboard 20 panels total of 10 on the roof and 10 on the wall at 500watts a piece. We are also going to carry along a 10kw diesel generator, such as a lowboy II. With an EG4 hybrid charge controller you can use the diesel and the solar together to charge together, and at 20kw we will be able to charge the bus in about 5 hours, or 10 hours for solar or diesel alone. We get a lot of inspiration from Will Prowse.

We are not the first to attempt such a thing, here is a link of a couple guys driving from Alaska to Argentina in a solar powered bus.

That is the propulsion side of the project in a birds eye view.

For the inside, we do not plan on straying too far beyond a traditional schoolie conversion, grey water only system, composting toilet, 12v lighting and mini split AC, window deletes. We get a lot of inspiration from Chuck Cassidy.

this is obviously going to be a much slower pace and we want to go slow and see as much as we can. think bicycle touring pace or sailboat pace.

we will show the progress as we go. I have a construction background, and my partner can keep everything organized and be a great project manager.
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Old 04-04-2024, 01:52 PM   #6
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We will continue to post as we add a large solar array, mounting up a 10kw diesel generator connected to a hybrid charge controller to power the 20kw vehicle charger and other AC loads. This will allow for autonomous travel so that we are not tethered to the grid. We are planning on traveling the US and visiting the various Ecovillages across the nation, but we are not expecting or wanting to go fast. We are going to travel at sailboat or bicycle speed in terms of miles per day. In the build itself, we expect to have all the traditional bus conversion amenities, so that when we are traveling slowly we will have everything we need to relax and live. A lot of the inspiration for the build comes from Youtubers such as Will Prowse, Chuck Cassidy, Solarrolla and many many more.
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Old 04-10-2024, 04:12 PM   #7
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Yeehaw, I will follow this with interest! My own plan is to put 6 panels on the roof of my 24' box truck to run an AC unit and LED lighting (8'x24 surface so if we can suss out how to fit more panels, we will). Already have a 5KW diesel APU tied into the main tanks (160gal). Pal did this first with a 16' box trailer and a pack from a Mach-E (8'x16' surface). So he just added a second Mach-E pack to his setup and has been keeping the box at <70F 24/7/365 (for maybe two years, or so). Thus, I'm just following in his footsteps. Anyway, it'll be nice to camp with AC *and* make no noise.
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Old 04-10-2024, 04:31 PM   #8
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Very cool! Look forward to seeing your progress!
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Old 04-11-2024, 09:53 AM   #9
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Love to see "Out -of-the-box" builds. Following with great interest.
Nice to see the seller left the 'Exempt' license plates!
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Old 04-11-2024, 05:23 PM   #10
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Is that the one on the government auction site with low miles and didn't run? I saw it listed in CA. Had some ridiculously low mileage.
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Old 04-11-2024, 08:53 PM   #11
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Great job finding your bus used. Were the batteries still in good shape? How simple are the electric motors? I see a drive shaft, is it just a motor upfront in place of an internal combustion? Tell us more!
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Old 04-11-2024, 10:52 PM   #12
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Great job finding your bus used. Were the batteries still in good shape? How simple are the electric motors? I see a drive shaft, is it just a motor upfront in place of an internal combustion? Tell us more!
The orange wires are the high-voltage wires or cables connected to the motor, which is in the top left corner of the photo. So its electric motor, driveshaft, differential to the wheels. In the front of the bus under the hood, there is a battery pack (1 of 5), the 24kw AC battery charger, power steering, battery and motor radiator, and coolant tank.
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Old 04-11-2024, 11:01 PM   #13
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Is that the one on the government auction site with low miles and didn't run? I saw it listed in CA. Had some ridiculously low mileage.
I believe we got ours from the same bus depot as that one through govt. auction.

This one runs great, we drove it 80 miles home and charged it back up at a free charging station near our house.

My suspicion with the one that didn't run is that the 12v battery is/was dead and that will prevent the high voltage pack from taking a charge. If either the high voltage or the 12v battery is left completely discharged for too long, it will damage the battery, and the manual recommends that you call a Lion Electric service mechanic. The battery loses charge in order to maintain various systems. so it is recommended that it stays plugged in when not being driven. if it was simply stored for a few months and the battery died, this could be the reason that it stopped responding to a charge.

Lion Electric says that the battery should last 25 years of normal use.

We just finished pulling up the plywood and the rubber matt, and now we are getting ready to plug some windows.
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Old 04-12-2024, 09:50 AM   #14
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I was real curious about that Lion bus I saw. The batteries alone in those busses must be worth a ton.

You are definitely on the bleeding edge of things with an electric bus.

It looks like a really solid platform.

What year is the bus?
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Old 04-12-2024, 02:55 PM   #15
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a lot has beenb learned about battery life and cycles.. when the chevy volt came out in 2010, it took a lot of controversy as the car was built with a 16 kwh battery but only 10 was made useable.. chevy was responding to faiklures that had been seen in earlier Lithium ion battery tests in EV's and hybrids failing after on;y a few years.. what they found was that only using 60-70% of your battery it would last a lot longer.. in fact I know of more than one person with 2013 Chevy volts on their original batteries still going strong with only a very minimal (less than 10-15%) loss in capacity.. if batteries can last 20-30 years then thats a win... i know i know the complainers will say a gasoline car can last forever... which is true.. but the reality is most dont.. cars get smashed, they rust out, they get neglected and so dirty they end up totalled... once EV's become more mainstream we will have a used battery market (same as we do used engines and transmissions).. there are already tesla parts exchanges popping up as enough of these are out there that a market has been created...



case and point - when you go driving around how many cars older than 1994 do you see in comparison to those that are newer? many many less.. so to me a battery life of 20-30 years is a win.. battery life less than 20 is a big issue.. as there are a lot of gasoline cars newer than 94 but older than 04.. so if you only got 18 years on a battery (unless they become cheaper than say a transmission repair)..
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Old 04-18-2024, 03:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
a lot has beenb learned about battery life and cycles.. when the chevy volt came out in 2010, it took a lot of controversy as the car was built with a 16 kwh battery but only 10 was made useable.. chevy was responding to faiklures that had been seen in earlier Lithium ion battery tests in EV's and hybrids failing after on;y a few years.. what they found was that only using 60-70% of your battery it would last a lot longer.. in fact I know of more than one person with 2013 Chevy volts on their original batteries still going strong with only a very minimal (less than 10-15%) loss in capacity.. if batteries can last 20-30 years then thats a win... i know i know the complainers will say a gasoline car can last forever... which is true.. but the reality is most dont.. cars get smashed, they rust out, they get neglected and so dirty they end up totalled... once EV's become more mainstream we will have a used battery market (same as we do used engines and transmissions).. there are already tesla parts exchanges popping up as enough of these are out there that a market has been created...



case and point - when you go driving around how many cars older than 1994 do you see in comparison to those that are newer? many many less.. so to me a battery life of 20-30 years is a win.. battery life less than 20 is a big issue.. as there are a lot of gasoline cars newer than 94 but older than 04.. so if you only got 18 years on a battery (unless they become cheaper than say a transmission repair)..
Well we're going off of the Lion Electric's advertised life span. We all know that's likely not true to last 20 years. I've yet to see batteries in cars last 20 years, I don't think theirs is any different. I give it 10 years max without large degredated capacity. And they sure as **** don't guarentee the batteries for that long.

I'd look at how long they guarantee the batteries and go by that as their expiration date. And when that battery expires 10 days after the expiration date, you'll be forking over $26,000 for a new battery bank.
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Old 04-19-2024, 07:12 AM   #17
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Well we're going off of the Lion Electric's advertised life span. We all know that's likely not true to last 20 years. I've yet to see batteries in cars last 20 years, I don't think theirs is any different. I give it 10 years max without large degredated capacity. And they sure as **** don't guarentee the batteries for that long.

I'd look at how long they guarantee the batteries and go by that as their expiration date. And when that battery expires 10 days after the expiration date, you'll be forking over $26,000 for a new battery bank.



thats just the problem.. we dont have any true real world data yet on heavy duty EV's.. we have real world data on what happened when you over-cycle an EV battery or put it through extreme temperatures.. (look up the Gen 1 Nissan Leaf.. ).. they had many many battery failures in hot climates and also in situations where their BMS had been set to use way too much of the capacity of the battery (unlike the volt).. who knows what Lion does.. the J1939 scanners dont have a lot of PGN / SPN related to EV so its hard to tell the real data about battery capacity advertised vs delivered and state of charge..
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Old 04-19-2024, 05:59 PM   #18
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Converting an electric bus sounds like quite the project. It's cool to see the progress pics too, especially the motor shot. Keep us updated on how it goes!
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Old 04-19-2024, 06:51 PM   #19
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I think I found the original listing for your bus, #904. Quite an interesting lot between the 4 that I that were auctioned... several of them not taking a charge and having under 5000 miles on them.

I'm all for going electric where and when it makes sense, so I commend you all for diving into such a unique project and what I'm sure will be a challenging, interesting, and hopefully fun one even after the conversion is complete.

There are some things in the listing that would very quickly deter me from converting an all electric bus.
"Why is the mileage so low?"
"The mileage is low as our routing could not accommodate the range of these units. They did not have many issues while we were using them."
And probably my largest personal deterrence: "This unit has a range of 70 miles on a full charge." I couldn't wait all day in ideal conditions to charge up enough to drive an hour.
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Old Yesterday, 06:40 AM   #20
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I think I found the original listing for your bus, #904. Quite an interesting lot between the 4 that I that were auctioned... several of them not taking a charge and having under 5000 miles on them.

I'm all for going electric where and when it makes sense, so I commend you all for diving into such a unique project and what I'm sure will be a challenging, interesting, and hopefully fun one even after the conversion is complete.

There are some things in the listing that would very quickly deter me from converting an all electric bus.
"Why is the mileage so low?"
"The mileage is low as our routing could not accommodate the range of these units. They did not have many issues while we were using them."
And probably my largest personal deterrence: "This unit has a range of 70 miles on a full charge." I couldn't wait all day in ideal conditions to charge up enough to drive an hour.

several districts here are running the Bluebird electrics.. the one suburb in particular has had quite a few electronic issues that now seem to be resolved after having the busses for a year.. their schedule lends itself fairly well to electrics in higbher density areas.. as the have morning routes and then afternoon routes. they installed the high capacity charging stations so the busses pretty much charge uo during the time between routes.. interestingly enough one of the biggest range killers which is heat, is handled by DIESEL.. they have webasto Diesel coolant heaters to heat and defrost the busses during the Long cool sometiomes very cold winter conditions we have in ohio.. EV cars suffer from huge range drain from the heating systems.. sitting in traffic which shouldnt use much battery ends up usoing a lot..



adoption of Air-conditioning in school busses here is still minimal even though apparently bluebird offers a heat pump option for the EV busses so a district can be nearly "fossil free"..



the district doesnt allow colorful logos on the busses so the Bluebird electrics have the standard logo and black bird that the diesel units do.. and even a "diesel fuel only" fuel door for the heating fuel still in the normal spot.. they can be spotted only by their "choir sound" which is required for all EV's (and hybrids where the gas motor shuts off)after 2016 due to blind pedestrian accidents where the pedestrian wasnt aware of a car at an intersection because of no sound..
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