Blue Bird’s first electric-powered school buses are on their way to customers in Ontario and California.
All of the customers who obtained the buses were able to do so through the help of financial grants, which helped pay for all or part of the cost of the buses, as well as some infrastructure costs.
Jack Matrosov of Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, was able to add one Micro Bird G5 electric school bus to his fleet through the use of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), offered by Ontario’s government.
“When the EHVIP grant became available, we were thrilled to find out that Micro Bird had an electric bus solution in the works,” says Matrosov. “Over 90 percent of our fleet are Micro Bird buses, and we feel these buses offer great quality and good local service when needed.”
Blue Bird is also delivering seven Type D All American rear-engine electric school buses in California. The larger, 72-passenger buses have a similar design to that of many Blue Bird Type D compressed natural gas (CNG) buses that districts operate in the state today.
“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, maintenance of traffic supervisor at 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,” notes 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. The company built its first electric-powered bus in 1994 for deployment in Southern California as a demonstration project.
“We are thrilled to see our all-new Blue Bird electric school buses going into the hands of customers for the first time,” states Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “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.”