Company rebuilds buses to run on zero-emission, clean technology

Leticia Juarez Image
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Company rebuilds buses to run on zero-emission, clean technology
A Riverside company is rebuilding a fleet of old buses to become all-electric zero-emission cars within the next year.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- An old bus that was destined for the scrap yard will soon be hauling commuters to and from their destinations again.

Complete Coach Works, a Riverside company that rebuilds and rehabilitates old buses, recently received a $12 million contract from the Indianapolis Transportation Agency to convert 21 diesel buses into non-emission electric vehicles.

"Next year, it will be the largest fleet in the Unites States of electric buses running around in the country," said Dale Carson, president of Complete Coach Works.

But before the car can become a zero-emission vehicle, everything from the engine, to the tires, to the metal flooring must go. Once the bus is gutted, it will take two months to transform the diesel burning engine bus into an all-electric zero-emission propulsion system vehicle.

"So it's a ground up re-manufacturing. Take (the bus) down to its bare components and rebuild every component on the vehicle," Carson said.

The innovation is something California transit agencies may want to keep an eye on since it must comply with strict clean air regulations. The state is currently trying to meet its own federal air pollution goals.

While there are already buses that run on clean technology, these are the only electric buses that can travel a regular route on a single charge.

"The just park it and plug it and five hours later it's ready to go for another 130 miles," Carson said.

Electric buses cost more than a diesel one, but Carson said the savings on fuel and maintenance make up for the cost over the life of the bus.