Written By Michelle Lewis for Electrek
GreenPower Motor Company’s Mega BEAST is an electric school bus with the biggest battery pack and most extended range yet on the US market.

November 14th Update: Just two weeks after launch, GreenPower says it’s received orders from its exclusive California dealer Model 1 for 25 of the Mega BEAST school buses for the Montebello School District in Los Angeles County, and 10 BEAST school buses for the Garden Grove school district in northern Orange County.

Jason Hohalek, school bus sales manager for Model 1, said, “With these buses qualifying for California HVIP vouchers, air quality management district grants, VW funding, and the EPA Clean School Bus Program, school districts are able to fund the transition to a cleaner, safer ride.”

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) recently signed legislation that requires all new school buses in California to be electric by 2035. 

October 31st Update: The West Virginia-based electric bus maker today unveiled the Mega BEAST, a ramped-up version of the BEAST, its Type D electric school bus that has a 140-mile range. (BEAST stands for “battery electric automotive school transportation.”) The BEAST was first deployed in 2019, and GreenPower has been running pilots in numerous school districts ever since.

GreenPower’s Mega BEAST is also a Type D bus, but it has more than double the range with a huge 387 kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. LFP batteries have added safety features, high energy density, and an extended life span, but they have a higher initial cost.

The company claims the Mega BEAST “provides for the longest range and has the biggest battery pack in the school bus market.” It’s going to be manufactured at GreenPower’s facilities in both California and South Charleston, West Virginia, beginning in 2024.

So, why would an electric school bus need a 300-mile range? That’s because school bus routes aren’t always short stop-start trips. The Mega BEAST is designed for rural school districts in which drivers have a lot further to go or for use on school trips and extracurricular activities. It’s also for routes that are busy and may not have time to recharge in the middle of the day. Plus, in locations that experience extreme weather – which increasingly is, well, everywhere – the extra range can come in handy. It’s also going to be great for V2G.

GreenPower president Brendan Riley explained, “All-in-all, the Mega BEAST is the same class leading vehicle as the BEAST, just with a bigger battery, more range, and more uphill climbing power.”

So there you go. Cool!