FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird Corp. just delivered the first electric-powered school buses to customers in California and Ontario, just in time for the new school year. Seven Type-D All American rear engine electric school buses and one Type A Micro Bird G5 electric school bus will begin operations this year.
All of the customers who obtained electric school buses were able to do so through the help of financial grants offered by various entities and government programs. These grants helped to pay for all or part of the cost of the buses, as well as some necessary infrastructure costs.
Jack Matrosov of Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, Ontario, was able to add a Micro Bird G5 electric school bus to his fleet through the use of the Electric & Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), which is offered by Ontario’s government.
“When the EHVIP grant became available, we were thrilled to find out that Micro Bird had an electric bus solution in the works. Over 90% of our fleet are Micro Bird buses, and we feel these buses offer great quality and good local service when needed,” said Matrosov. He added that the grant also allowed him to cover nearly all of the costs of the infrastructure needed for this bus.
The larger, 72-passenger buses ordered by customers in California have a similar design to the many Blue Bird Type D CNG buses that districts operate in the state today. These districts used many California-based grants, including South Coast AQMD and HVIP, which helped to pay part of the cost of the buses and infrastructure.
“We were excited to find out, in the midst of the search process, that Blue Bird had created an electric bus solution,” said Hector Morales, supervisor of M.O.T. of Mountain View School District in El Monte, Calif. “Our mechanic is familiar with Blue Bird Type D buses, so it was an easy choice for our fleet.”
“We decided to go with Blue Bird’s electric school buses, because we know the level of service we require will be available to us,” said Mark Toti, transportation manager at Bellflower Unified School District in Bellflower, Calif. “We currently operate 26 Blue Bird CNG buses, and feel comfortable relying on local support from Blue Bird in order to introduce this new technology to our existing fleet.”
While grants were widely responsible for the purchase of these buses, manufacturers like Blue Bird see a future in this technology that will make these buses more affordable and widespread as a viable alternative fuel solution.
“We are thrilled to see our all-new Blue Bird electric school buses going into the hands of customers for the first time,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “With zero-emissions, our electric school buses provide the cleanest possible environment for our customers and the children they transport. Also, with battery technology constantly advancing and becoming more efficient, we foresee a great future for growth.”
Blue Bird and Micro Bird announced their development of electric-powered school buses in 2017, and promised deliveries starting in 2018.
About Blue Bird Corp.
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 and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Ga. 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