Blue Bird announced Thursday it recently delivered eight new electric-powered school buses to customers in California and Ontario. The first all-electric Blue Bird Buses in operation, these seven Type-D All American Rear Engine Electric school buses and one Type A Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus will be in operation this year.
According to Blue Bird, every customer 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. Manufacturers like Blue Bird also see a future in this technology that will make these buses more affordable and wide-spread as a viable alternative fuel solution, the company says.
“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 at Blue Bird Corporation. “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.”
Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, Ontario, was able to add a Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus to its fleet through the use of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), which is offered by Ontario’s government. 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 use many California-based grants, including South Coast AQMD and HVIP, which helped to pay towards 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,” says 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,” adds 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.”
Blue Bird and Micro Bird announced their development of electric-powered school buses in 2017, promising deliveries starting in 2018.