In August, Thomas Built Buses Inc., which has been a driving force in Guilford County’s economy for over a century, is expanding its bus line with a type of school bus that’s meant to be an extra-power beast when tackling big hills – all while increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

Production of the new vehicles, which the company hopes will be a big seller, is expected to start in a matter of weeks.   Company officials are optimistic that that the combination of three qualities often sought by school systems – better, more reliable power, better fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions – will be a big hit with those school systems across the country – especially those with challenging topographies.

The company’s name and description of the new type of bus isn’t all that catchy – “the Saf-T-Liner C2 propane school bus with the new Driveforce 8.8L LPG engine produced by Powertrain Solutions Integration (PSI)” – however, the company hopes to grow its business with the bus that company officials say will provide “excellent torque for hill-climbing power while maintaining lower engine speeds resulting in improved fuel economy.”

Thomas Built Buses, headquartered in High Point, is owned by Daimler Trucks North America, which is the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America.  Some Daimler Trucks product lines include Freightliner and Western Star in addition to Thomas Built Buses.

Thomas Built Buses, which was founded in 1916, is best known for the gigantic number of school buses that the company has cranked out over the past 103 years.

Company officials are obviously very excited about the added line of buses.  Caley Edgerly, the president and CEO of Thomas Built, said this week that Thomas Built is happy to offer the new option to its customers and he also said that this new line of buses is a prime example of his company’s commitment to maximizing safety and efficiency in the school bus industry.

Edgerly added that the bus’ engine is designed specifically for propane fuel and that it offers customers “uncompromising power and performance with maximum fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.”