home icon

NAPT - What You Missed

Futuristic Innovations and the Debut of Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner® eC2 Electric Bus

The annual NAPT conference is always a great mixture of currently available products for the pupil transportation industry and a glimpse of what is to come. But for Thomas Built Buses, this year was a little different. This year, Thomas Built brought key innovations to the show that will impact the industry – some as soon as next year.

But what innovations will impact you next year?

Take a look for yourself.


The Future is Already Leading in Automotive and Commercial Transportation

Autonomous vehicles are making waves in the automotive and trucking industries today and, while you won’t see an autonomous school bus anytime soon, there are a number of technologies cascading down from the automotive and trucking industries that will make school buses safer, easier to drive and more comfortable for drivers and students. 

These technologies were the focus of the Innovation in Action event, which was co-hosted by Thomas Built Buses and NAPT.  Leading technologies from Thomas Built Buses’ sister brands Mercedes-Benz, Detroit and Freightliner such as active distance assist, steering assist, braking assist, collision avoidance and lane departure warnings are all precursors to what someday could equip school buses.

What will the future of pupil transportation hold?  That’s still unknown, but many of the autonomous driving features in the automotive and trucking industries could be in our future, and Thomas Built Buses is in the forefront – sifting through what makes sense for the pupil transportation industry and what innovations bring the most value to both drivers and students.


Coming in 2019

You might have heard, Thomas Built recently introduced its first-generation electric school bus, the Saf-T-Liner eC2 Electric, otherwise known as Jouley. Jouley provides the same vehicle performance, safety and comfort as the Saf-T-Liner C2, with the added benefit of quiet operation, zero tailpipe emissions and exportable power.

The first generation Saf-T-Liner eC2 Electric Bus comes equipped with the PowerDrive™ 7000ev powertrain from Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), which provides 100-160kWh of battery energy, and a baseline 100-mile range and an operating range up to 100 miles between charges, with an option for a higher range with additional battery packs. Among its features are the PowerSuite™ vehicle control software and the PowerTracker™ telematics and diagnostics system that tracks bus location and provides real-time monitoring of potential issues.  Jouley is the latest chapter in Thomas Built’s joint commitment with Daimler and Daimler Trucks North America to provide proven, sustainable solutions today. And tomorrow. Currently, Jouley is set to be in early production by 2019.

If you didn’t see Jouley in person, get to know her a little better here.


Coming in 2018 

The future of diesel engine technology is right around the corner – coming in 2018 in fact.  Thomas Built Buses, along with Detroit, will launch the new Detroit™ DD5™ and DD8™ engines with Detroit™ Connect Virtual TechnicianSM Remote Diagnostics Service in 2018 in the pupil transportation industry.  The DD5 and DD8 engines are the latest in medium-duty engine technology, combined with the most advanced and in-depth connectivity platform in the industry.

Diesel is and will remain the fuel of choice for the school bus industry for the foreseeable future, so these new engines will definitely rock the industry.


Road Map with Caley Edgerly


The Introduction of Jouley

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the buzz.  Jouley, our first generation Saf-T-Liner eC2 Electric School Bus debuted at NAPT this year.

Jouley is just like our popular Saf-T-Liner C2 in terms of performance, comfort and safety, but she’s electric!  In addition to producing zero emissions at the tailpipe, Jouley also is quiet and even produces exportable power so students riding the school bus can charge their computers and other devices directly from the bus. She has a 100-mile range, with an expandable range option. Plus so much more! 

We named Jouley after the joule unit of energy, which is equivalent to the amount of energy that is dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. It sounds complicated, but trust us, operating Jouley is far from complicated. 

The Saf-T-Liner eC2 is slated to be in early production in 2019.  For more information, please contact your local Thomas Built dealer.

Caley Edgerly


Sign Up and Receive Our Newsletter