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Blue Bird is Ever-Evolving

With ever-changing emission regulations and increased interest in vehicles with zero- and low-emissions, the adoption of electric school buses is ramping up day by day. The path to converting your fleet can be challenging and not one you have to embark on by yourself. Blue Bird is not only positioning itself to facilitate the growth of EV adoption through increased production, but is poised to support customers with direct grant support and educational resources/training.

Increased Electric School Bus Production

On May 23, 2023, the company’s relentless expansion efforts were celebrated with the grand opening of an Electric Vehicle (EV) Build-Up Center, a nearly 40,000 sq. ft. facility transformed to help meet increasing demand for electric school buses. The facility will allow the company to expand electric school bus production from 4 to 20 electric vehicles a day by the end of 2023 and significantly increase its production capacity to approximately 5,000 zero-emission school buses annually in the years to come. The EV Build-up Center is part of a multi-million-dollar investment in the upgrade of Blue Bird’s Fort Valley manufacturing site – and the company’s long-term future.

Grant Support

Blue Bird established a grants department in 2022 to increase electric vehicle accessibility by providing dealers and customers one-on-one assistance to apply for federal and state funding programs. The department assisted Blue Bird dealers and school districts across the country for round one of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program and submitted over 150 applications for a total of 876 low- and zero-emission school buses. Blue Bird’s grants department assisted customers across the U.S. and in all 10 EPA regions for round two of the Clean School Bus funding, and will continue these efforts over the next four years.

Educational Resources and Training

Blue Bird remains steadfast in its commitment to producing electric vehicles and is equally dedicated to educating dealers, customers and the general public about EVs. Blue Bird established the Blue Bird Academy in 2018 as an educational resource to provide training to dealers, service technicians, and customers about Blue Bird buses.

Since October 2020, Blue Bird Academy has provided focused online EV training to dealers, customer technicians, drivers and first responders. Online courses are tailored to each audience and cover common foundations such as product overview, high voltage awareness and safety, operational procedures and charging. The training encompasses current and past year models and is updated on pace with product revisions. This virtual training serves as a prerequisite for in-person training.

Blue Bird also offers Product Launch Support training for new and existing EV customers with a focus on safety, service, and support. This in-person training provides drivers and technicians the opportunity to engage in structured conversation around the EV product and fosters confidence and safety in day-to-day EV operations. The Product Launch Support sessions include hands-on assessments, ride and drives, and a companion workbook to promote high engagement and retention.

Most recently, Blue Bird expanded into the public education sector with the thought leader initiative, “EVer EVolving.” Releasing public case studies, informational blogs, and podcast episodes, Blue Bird brings awareness to common topics related to electric school buses and charging and related topics. The case studies, conducted in partnership with Accelera by Cummins, feature electric bus customers and cover topics such as EV operation in cold weather climate and using grant funding to transition a bus fleet to electric. Blue Bird launched the “Bird’s Eye View Podcast” in June 2023 to inform listeners about all aspects of EV school buses in an interview-style format featuring industry guests as subject matter experts.

The Path Forward

Blue Bird is eager to partner with our customers to ensure the process is as smooth as possible and to provide confidence knowing you have the experts beside you. While the path to EV adoption and fleet conversion can be challenging and there are many nuisances to be aware of and knowledge necessary for successful transitions, simply put, Blue Bird is here to help you on the journey.

Learn more here. 

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