Science Students Step Aboard the ‘Bus Of The Future’

SACRAMENTO -- It's a completely electric school buss -- run entirely on batteries.

"So this is equivalent to a 7-liter diesel engine in performance and you can see the size is significantly smaller," IC Chief Engineer Dean Oppermann said.

The driver can spend up to 120 miles behind the wheel before having to stop and recharge.

Oppermann says a school bus is a perfect model for an electric vehicle because it doesn't necessarily have to travel long distances.

"It's typically 'stop and start.' Stopping allows us to regenerate the energy," Oppermann said. "You need to have a place to charge. Once again, school buses always typically go back to their home base."

The electric bus also boasts some advanced safety features like cameras the driver can see in the rear-view mirror.

"Combination views with both the front hood and the side camera," Oppermann said.

The Charge Electric Bus and its engineers stopped at the School of Engineering & Sciences Thursday morning. They say Sacramento is an up-and-coming market for electric vehicles.

"Sacramento placed one of the biggest orders of electric school buses," IC Bus Marketing Director Sugha Veerapaneni said. "It was the perfect place to come because it's one of the first places that's actually going to use electric school buses."

Students at the school had the chance to step aboard and learn how the bus works.

"These are real people who have real jobs and if you're passionate about math and science that you can do this every day that you wake up as an adult. And that can be really inspiring and really tangible for students," Patrick Bohman, the school's learning support services coordinator, told FOX40.

For the engineers, it was an opportunity to showcase their "bus of the future" and shape the scientists of the future at the same time.

"I wish I had an engineering high school like this when I was growing up. But for them to be able to see the concepts they're learning in a real-world application I think is great," Veerapaneni said.

Engineers say they will make more demo buses in the next year and begin production shortly after that.