HomeNewsCollins Partners With BAF to Build First CNG Type-A School Bus

Collins Partners With BAF to Build First CNG Type-A School Bus

Today Collins Bus Corp. announced an exclusive agreement with BAF, a Clean Energy company, to develop the first Type-A school bus with a compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel system. 

Collins, the largest builder of Type-A school and school-activity buses in the United States, will begin offering this system as an option on several models in the spring of 2012.

Compared to diesel and gasoline fuels, CNG provides a reduction in greenhouse emissions and can reduce fuel costs for pupil transportation departments by 25 to 40 percent. More than 110,000 vehicles are currently fueled by CNG in the U.S. Because 98 percent of all natural gas is produced in North America, operating vehicles on CNG decreases national dependence on foreign oil.

“We are excited to be leading our industry in alternative-fuel technologies, and CNG is the next logical step. Many of our customers are interested in this technology and our leading dealers are ready to introduce it to their customers,” said Kent Tyler, Collins president. “BAF brings expertise and a proven system to the market. When you combine CNG with our propane and hybrid-electric offerings, you can see how our team is leading the field.”

John Doswell, vice president of sales and marketing at Collins, told School Transportation News that infrastructure for CNG, as well as propane, still needs to grow for these options to gain wider acceptance in the school bus industry. Doswell said everyone should feel good that both alt-fuel options are domestically produced and more affordable.

“The federal subsidy of 50 cents per gallon for propane is expected to continue,” he said. “It’s truly a North American product, which has got to make everybody feel good about it. And it’s plentiful.”

Brent Pope, director of sales at BAF, agreed that CNG fuel has a significant environmental and economic advantage over diesel and gasoline fuels and is an ideal option for school districts with Type-A buses. Founded in 1992, the company is the premier provider of natural gas vehicles under Ford Motor Company’s Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QMV) program.

“We are very excited to have partnered with Collins,” Pope said. “Together we will offer their customers the best product available.”

Collins has been working for several years on a CNG version of their bus, but did not achieve viability until partnering with BAF.

Added Tyler, “The key factor in any alternative engine option is weight. Just landing on a new concept won’t cut it if you can’t achieve a practical range with the passenger capacity you need. We’re happy that we can get both with this option from BAF.”

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