Navistar chosen to help develop hybrid bus-WEB ONLY

Federal officials have chosen Navistar Corp.’s Fort Wayne plant to help develop a new electric hybrid school bus that’s part of the Obama administration’s goal of lessening the nation’s reliance on petroleum.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Friday that Navistar will be a partner in a project to develop, test and put onto the nation’s roads a new type of plug-in, electric hybrid bus.

The agency will provide up to $10 million over three years – half of the projected total cost – for the project, which will be subject to annual appropriations.

Vehicle goals include a 40-mile electric range, advanced energy storage devices and a diesel engine capable of running on renewable fuels. The project aims to deploy 60 vehicles for a three-year period in fleets across the nation.

The DOE said the hybrid school bus will help reach the president’s goal of putting a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

“These projects will help move technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace by improving their durability, reducing their costs, and validating their performance in real-world settings,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

The Obama administration is emphasizing plug-in hybrids as part of its strategy to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can be driven in electric-only or hybrid modes and recharged from a standard electrical outlet. They use electricity as the primary fuel for urban driving.

“By investing in the vehicles of the future, we will create new jobs while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving our environment,” Chu said.

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