Customers seeking an alternative to a CNG, Type-D school bus drove the development of Blue Bird’s new Type C CNG Vision that is expected to be available in late 2016, a company representative told STN.
A slight dip industry-wide in recent Type D production, prior to this year’s reported spike, had no impact on the decision to offer a Type-C CNG option, said Trey Jenkins, Blue Bird’s vice president of alternative fuels. But overall cost was a definite factor.
“Customer demand was the primary driver for this product offering,” he said. “Customers are looking for a CNG product with a lower acquisition cost, and, in some cases, customers prefer a Type C product over a transit bus.”
Blue Bird unveiled the CNG Vision at the NAPT Summit Trade Show in Richmond, Virginia, on Nov. 10. Similar to the Propane Vision, the CNG Vision is not a conversion, but designed, tested and manufactured by Ford to specifically run on CNG or propane, while ROUSH CleanTech provides fuel system calibration and certification.
“Although the injectors and calibration will be different for CNG, there are a lot of similarities with how the engine integrates into the bus,” Jenkins added.
Also like the Propane Vision, Blue Bird’s Type C CNG promises customers and technicians simpler and easier maintenance and service.
Jenkins said specifics on mpg, horsepower and other metrics won’t be available until March or April following initial vehicle testing, but he added that Blue Bird is confident it will meet customer expectations on cost, fuel economy and emissions.