Micro Bird Holdings, a Blue Bird and Girardin joint venture and North American market leader in the Type A school bus market, has acquired a controlling interest in the EV drivetrain integrator and supplier GranTuned Automobiles (Ecotuned).
Micro Bird says this strategic acquisition firmly positions Micro Bird for substantial growth in the light- and medium-duty EV market by bringing core electrification-expertise and value to both Micro Bird and the broader Blue Bird Corporation.
"Over the years, Micro Bird has evaluated many up-and-coming EV companies and found in Ecotuned a more optimized, efficient and technologically-advanced solution that is faster to install, due to its patented cradle system, and does not compromise on safety and performance," says Steve Girardin, president, Micro Bird.
Founded more than ten years ago in 2011, Ecotuned has successfully developed one of the most efficient EV drivetrains for light- and medium-duty applications. Its market leading energy-efficient EV solution comes predominantly from a proprietary two-speed EV transmission, battery management systems (BMS) as well as advanced algorithms, which allow for a smaller electric motor, less batteries and more useful payload, without compromising performance. The Ecotuned drivetrain comes standard with Level 2 and 3 charging and is V2G capable.
The transaction is effective Aug. 12, 2021, and all three founding members will continue to be shareholders and play an instrumental role in the evolution of the company, the companies say.
"Micro Bird was one of our first customers and we have enjoyed a very close partnership and collaboration," says Andy Ta, Ecotuned founder. "We look forward to working even closer together and see Ecotuned achieve its full potential."
For more than five years now, Micro Bird and Ecotuned have been closely working together to perfect the medium-duty EV powertrain, which is currently offered in the Micro Bird G5.
"The intent from the beginning was always to offer a properly integrated solution that works in harmony with our products and is supported by an experienced and established network of dealers and professionals," adds Girardin.
In addition to the school bus segment, Micro Bird also plans to deploy its Micro Bird G5 with Ecotuned EV powertrain in the commercial bus segment; more details to come soon. Ecotuned also plans to expand its EV powertrains in class 3 to 7 segments across various vocations, the company says.
"We are very excited about this highly-strategic acquisition," says Phil Horlock, CEO, Blue Bird Corporation. "This acquisition reinforces our leadership in the EV school bus market while positioning Micro Bird and Blue Bird for significant growth in revenue, profitability and value for our shareholders. We look forward to utilizing Ecotuned's significant EV capabilities within Blue Bird."