The U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board recently signed off on the Blue Bird Vision Propane school bus that is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel injection system and Ford 6.8L engine. They emit only 0.02 grams per brake horsepower hour, the lowest levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) available from any Class 4 through 7 propane vehicle.
The optional NOx level is 90 percent cleaner than the current 2010 EPA emissions standard of 0.2 g/bhp/hr and 99 percent cleaner than pre-2007 school bus models. Blue Bird also said its ultra-low NOx Propane Vision is 10 times cleaner than other propane school bus brands that are currently on the market.
“A school district can operate 100 buses with the 0.02 NOx engines and emit less NOx emissions than one diesel bus manufactured before 2007,” explained Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “Our nation has an abundant supply of propane; combine that with the economic and environmental benefits, and it’s no wonder that more than 850 school districts have already chosen propane buses.”
To date, Blue Bird said nearly 1 million students nationwide ride to and from school on more than 14,000 propane school buses.
Blue Bird also released the first 0.05 g/bhp-hr Ford 6.8L engine in its Vision Propane last year, which at the time was the lowest-emissions vehicle available for Class 4-7.
“To continue our tradition in alternative fuels leadership, we are proud to be the first manufacturer certified to this lowest NOx level in a Type C school bus. Our overarching goal is to continually build a better bus that provides a clean and safe environment for our students and communities,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird. “The Blue Bird Vision Propane continues to dominate, and we continue to make investments to ensure it exceeds our customers’ expectations with the lowest NOx emissions and the lowest ownership costs.”
The company added that the ultra-low NOx certification provides school districts with additional opportunities to secure alternative-fuel grants, including money from the $2.95 billion Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. Savings of up to $3,500 per bus annually on reduced fuel and maintenance costs are also projected.