MILPITAS, Calif. — California is leading the way in the electrification of school bus fleets. Hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and subsidies have been or will be made available to districts that wish to add electric buses to their fleets. However, until recently, districts had limited options in electric bus providers, and even fewer for localized service and support of electric buses.
On August 29, Blue Bird Corporation, a school bus manufacturer that focuses on alternatively-fueled technologies, and Cummins, a global power leader, celebrated their partnership that provides California schools with nearly 200 years of experience supporting customers and more than 30 years of electric drivetrain experience.
Nearly 100 electric school buses powered by a Cummins fully-electric drivetrain have been ordered to date from Blue Bird Corporation. The overwhelming majority of the bus orders are from California school districts.
Blue Bird has been working with electric technology in school buses since 1994, and recently secured a strong partnership with the Cummins Electrified Power business segment. Cummins produces the all-electric drivetrains that power Blue Bird’s Electric Vision and Electric All American buses. Cummins has committed to investing $500 million in electrification over three years, to bring quality, dependable, fully-electric and hybrid solutions to market across a wide range of applications.
“The amount of interest has been outstanding. People are very excited about a 100 percent electric-powered school bus,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.
Horlock observed that “The nation is increasingly interested in electric vehicle transportation in general. We anticipate rapid growth of electric school buses as more districts are educated on the zero-emission and low-maintenance benefits they bring to their local communities.”
The Blue Bird Electric bus delivers abundant benefits to school districts. The Cummins PowerDrive equipped buses produce zero emissions, which not only improve air quality, but can reduce energy costs. For many districts, fuel is the second-highest expense in their school bus operations, behind labor.
There are also maintenance costs savings to be gained with the Blue Bird Electric bus, due to fewer parts. The buses are capable of up to 120 miles of range. They can be recharged in approximately 8 hours using a standard SAE J1772 Level 2 charger, which makes overnight charging convenient.
“Cummins and Blue Bird are committed to supporting our California-based customers in ensuring that we are safely transporting our children and improving air quality for our communities,” said Julie Furber, vice president of electrified power at Cummins, Inc.
“Schools can count on Cummins to deliver the same level of support and service network for these electric buses that we’ve always delivered through our 13 wholly-owned branch locations and approximately 200 service technicians in California.”
Of the buses ordered, many will be deployed this year, with the remaining being delivered in 2020. www.blue-bird.com/electric
About Blue Bird Corporation
Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture, and sale of school buses and related parts.
As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production that are specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications, with its propane-powered, electric-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses.
Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. www.blue-bird.com
About Cummins, Inc.
Cummins, Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as well as related technologies. Those include battery systems, fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ind. since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 62,600 people who are committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities that are critical to healthy communities: education, environment and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and over 7,600 dealer locations. Cummins earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $23.8 billion in 2018. www.cummins.com