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10,000 North American school buses will be converted to fully electric

SEA Electric, an Australian company with US headquarters in Torrance, California, that makes battery electric power systems for commercial vehicles, and Illinois-headquartered Midwest Transit Equipment (MTE), one of the largest school bus dealers in the US, have partnered to update 10,000 school buses in the US Midwest with battery-electric power systems over the next five years.

Electric school bus conversions

With this partnership, MTE will be able to provide clients with a nearly new converted e-bus at a fraction of the cost of a new, built-from-scratch e-school bus. The deal will cover both Type A and Type C school buses, and deliveries will take place over the next five years.

The buses will be powered by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive electric power system.

Each bus will have the ability to deliver full vehicle-to-grid capabilities, with the SEA-Drive power system able to feed electricity back into the grid, improving stability when connected to a charging station.

SEA notes:

This partnership promotes the [environmental, social, and corporate governance] principle of secondary use, while reducing waste, eliminating diesel particulates, and most importantly, positively impacting the health and well-being of our students.

Two to three re-powered buses can be delivered at the same price as a new electric bus.

John McKinney, president and CEO of Midwest Transport Equipment, said:

This partnership will allow us to react to our customer’s needs more quickly and will complement new bus sales.  As the industry moves toward zero emissions we are positioned well with our SEA Electric partnership to be a leader of the electrification movement.

The American Lung Association and other health organizations have been actively lobbying Congress to fund electric school buses because of the negative impact diesel fuel has on children’s health:

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Photo: Midwest Transit Equipment

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.