IC Bus has in the order book over 100 electric CE Series electric school bus vehicles to date. The school bus manufacturer, belonging to Navistar group, announced that it is «focusing its time, resources and investments around equipping its CE Series with the upcoming safety features, technologies and powertrain choices that best serve customers in the evolving school bus market». In 2019 the company announced the launch of a new business unit dedicated to the launch of full electric truck and bus products, named NEXT eMobility Solutions.

Given the strong push by the current administration to zero emission vehicles, electric school buses are gaining more traction in the North American bus market: just a few days Lion Electric scored the largest order so far with 260 units for Quebec, and according to forecasts, 27,000 units are to be built in ten years in the US.

The very first electric CE Series school bus from IC Bus was delivered early this month to Canada. The buses are part of an order for 18 type C electric school buses that British Columbia School Districts placed in late 2020.

100 IC Bus electric school bus units ordered so far

The consulting firm Interact Analysis wrote in a recent essays for Sustainable Bus magazine that «We do expect the school bus market to see a significant increase in electrification. In his election manifesto, Biden unveiled his Build Back Better plan for creating a more resilient, sustainable economy. It proposed making all American-made buses zero-emission by 2030, starting with the school bus fleet, which would convert within 5 years».

From a TCO perspective, electric school buses are one of the most uneconomical segments, which is why our previous forecast assumption was so pessimistic. But Biden’s commitment to clean school buses has given us the confidence to raise our forecast projections. It should be noted, however, that the main driver for this sector comes from cleaning the air which school children breath rather than sustainability.

While forecasts vary widely over the next few years, IC Bus says, «consensus believes that by 2030, 30 – 50 percent of new school bus purchases will be electric. IC Bus has spent the last few years preparing its CE Series for electrification. Already available in diesel, propane and gasoline, the electric CE Series was launched late last year. Today, IC Bus is proud to announce more than 100 orders for the electric CE Series, which will be fully constructed at Navistar’s IC Bus manufacturing facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With these fuel options, IC Bus provides customers the power of choice when it comes to which CE Series best fits their fleet». 

IC Bus points out also that, as all future investments are directed at the CE Series, the RE Series will phase out with the upcoming 2024 green-house gas standards.

Electric buses, IC Bus: a collaborative approach

Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus: “We are investing in on our flagship CE Series to continue providing customers with the safest, cleanest and most technologically advanced buses into the future. With this renewed focus, it will remain a market leader as the industry moves forward.”

He adds: “When it comes to electric buses, we’re focused on helping customers electrify their fleet the right way,” said Reed. “Different customers have different needs, and we believe a collaborative approach is the best way to determine which fuel choice is best for a customer. From there, we can support customers in successfully implementing that choice into a fleet”.

IC Bus will focus solely on supporting its CE Series product with new technologies, enhancing its abilities to bring these safety features to the industry. This commitment will bring technologies that focus on protecting pedestrians around the vehicle and automating various functions, as well as bringing the most advanced collision mitigation systems to the school bus, according to the group. This focus on the CE Series will also accelerate the rate that connected technologies are integrated into the school bus. IC Bus has plans to bring the same fleet health monitoring systems from Navistar’s International truck brand to its buses, which will help support the needs of transportation directors. IC Bus strives to leverage technology to provide the industry with enhanced safety, productivity and efficiency.


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