SEA Electric, a provider of electric commercial vehicles originally from Australia and now based in Los Angeles has received another major order: US school bus dealer Midwest Transit Equipment (MTE) wants SEA to convert 10,000 existing school buses to electric vehicles.
SEA Electric and Midwest Transit Equipment have partnered up to equip 10,000 school buses with battery-electric drive systems. Midwest Transit Equipment is to provide the chassis that are to be equipped with the SEA-Drive propulsion system and thus become purely electric school buses. SEA Electric will not only provide the electric drives but will conduct with conversion within its “extensive network of up-fitting partners,” as Nick Casas, VP of Sales and Marketing told electrive.com. The eventually fully-electric buses will also have a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) function that of course means the vehicles will be able to act as grid-balancing vehicles and will be able to “smart charge” when energy prices are cheapest.
The retrofit of the 10,000 school buses is to be completed in the next five years. The school buses to be converted are of the US school bus class Type A and Type C. Type A is the smallest US school bus type with a length of 6 to 7.5 metres and is based on a van chassis. The traditional Type C school buses are built on truck architectures.
SEA Electric says that the conversion will extend the life of the buses by more than ten years and that two to three converted buses can be had for the price of one new electric bus. Mike Menyhart, President Americas and Chief Strategy Officer at SEA Electric says: “The secondary use of school buses fitted with all-electric drivetrains makes a lot of sense; it keeps costs down, opens up considerable availability, creates green jobs right here in the US all while making a difference in the environment and the health of the communities we serve.”
According to John McKinney, president and CEO of Midwest Transport Equipment, the partnership with SEA Electric will ensure that it can respond more quickly to customers’ needs. “As the industry moves towards zero emissions we are positioned well with our SEA Electric partnership to be a leader of the electrification movement,” says John McKinney, president and CEO of Midwest Transport Equipment.
Indeed, Nick Casas revealed to electrive.com, that SEA Electric will soon be launching in the UK, and aims to launch in six countries in Europe, including Germany.
SEA Electric is a manufacturer of US Class 3 to 8 electric commercial vehicles, light to heavy-duty. According to information from early August, SEA will have delivered more than 500 electric commercial vehicles this year alone and plans to put more than 15,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2023. Just a few weeks ago, SEA Electric announced an order for 1,150 electric trucks from the GATR EV company.
SEA Electric also recently announced an electric platform for a small truck that can be driven with a normal car driver’s licence. The manufacturer also recently closed a financing round of 42 million US dollars (about 36 million euros) to further expand its business. The main investor in this round was Exro Technologies, a Canadian company with which SEA Electric has also inaugurated a strategic partnership in the course of this agreement. This financing will no doubt also come in handy with SEA Electric’s planned expansion across the pond into the UK and Europe.
Read the full article at Electrive by Carrie Hampel published on December 7, 2021.