By Zach Shahan and Johnna Crider
Blue Bird has delivered its 400th electric school bus in North America. The next 400 will come much quicker than the first 400. The company expects to have 1,000 electric school buses delivered by some point in 2022. It was just in December that we reported on Blue Bird selling its 300th electric school bus, its first in Texas. In October, Blue Bird reported that it had sold hundreds of electric school buses (presumably, that meant 200).
While we report on news from several electric school bus manufacturers, Blue Bird notes that it is the only company producing electric versions of all 3 types of school buses — Type A, C, and D buses.
Growth in electric school bus orders more than tripled for Blue Bird in the past year, and it now sees the era of electric buses arriving.
“We achieved almost three-fold growth in electric bus sales last year and are pleased to see fast-paced growth again as we start off 2021,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “Our commitment to providing safe, clean-power transportation for our children is not new to us. We have more than 19,000 low-emissions Blue Bird propane buses on the road, 4-times the number of all of our competitors combined, transporting more than a million children to school each day. The shift to zero-emissions transportation is a reality and a commitment for us. With more than 7,000 active customers today, we’re excited to be leading the industry move toward zero-emissions school buses. I would expect to see the number of Blue Bird electric buses on the road grow to over 1,000 next year.”
The company notes that the Biden administrations goals on climate action and electric transport align with Blue Bird’s abilities to electrify. “Blue Bird’s zero-emissions, electric-powered school buses support the new federal initiatives on climate change. With President Biden’s announcement of his 100-day plan to get children back to school, as well as his plan to replace the federal fleet with American-made electric vehicles, Blue Bird expects municipalities to incorporate more zero-emissions vehicles into their existing transportation infrastructure, which includes more than 500,000 school buses.
“Blue Bird’s EV Ecosystem helps dealers and school districts access funding, infrastructure and training, and provides the operating assistance needed to save them money while reducing emissions through the transition to EV buses. For more information about Blue Bird’s Electric bus line, visit www.blue-bird.com/electric.“
Journal Express Canada noted that zero-emission Blue Bird and Micro Bird electric school buses will also help Canada achieve its deployment and greenhouse gas reduction objections of Quebec’s Plan for a Green Economy 2030. Girardin, in collaboration with Blue Bird for large school buses and its Micro Bird minibus, has a manufacturing plant in Drummondville and is able to offer the complete line of 100% electric Type A, C, and D buses in Quebeck. Girardin is also reported to have unrivalled deployment capacity in Quebec’s school and commercial electric bus market.
A few days ago, following the announcement of Blue Bird delivering its 400th electric school bus, the company delivered its 1st electric school bus in Colorado. “An ALT Fuels Colorado grant helped cover the cost of the school district’s electric school bus, as well as a level two charging station.”
“Blue Bird is committed to safer and cleaner student transportation, and that is evident with more than 400 electric school buses on the road this year in North America and we expect that number to grow to over 1,000 next year,” said David Bercik, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We are helping school districts save thousands of dollars each year on fuel and maintenance, and prioritize safety. This electric school bus ensures a quiet ride for those on the bus, limiting driver distraction and increasing their ability to hear passengers while improving human and environmental health by eliminating emissions.”
“By adding Blue Bird’s electric bus to our fleet, the Boulder Valley School District is prioritizing and improving the health of our students and drivers, as well as investing in our community’s future,” said BVSD superintendent Dr. Rob Anderson. “We have a reputation as a leader in Colorado and it’s our job to ensure our students have the opportunity to succeed, starting with a clean, safe ride to school.”
Unfortunately, the company is also still delivering a lot of non-electric, polluting buses. It just delivered 22 propane buses in Michigan last month, for example. While propane buses are much cleaner than old-school diesel buses, they are not zero-emission electric buses.
Blue Bird started taking orders for Type B and Type C electric school buses in April 2018. It was “awarded $4.4 million by the US Department of Energy to develop an electric school bus featuring vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology,” as we reported at the time.
Got electric school buses in your school yet?