Cleveland Schools, Ohio’s second largest school district, is replacing 49 12-to-13-year-old diesel buses with Blue Bird’s Propane Vision buses. A short return on investment, the ease of fueling, the low infrastructure cost and the unexpected benefit of lower electricity costs were reasons cited by the school district for the purchase of the propane autogas buses.
The school district annually estimates about $50,000 in electrical costs for powering block heaters to start their diesel buses in cold weather. Blue Bird Propane Vision buses start up in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The school district, which fuels all their buses at their bus depot, currently is adding an on-site autogas fueling station. Autogas infrastructure is less expensive to install than all other conventional and alternative transportation fuels. On average, autogas costs up to 50% less than diesel.
The school district purchased the Type C school buses from Cardinal Bus Sales, Ohio’s Blue Bird dealer.
A 362 hp (270 kW), 457 lb-ft (620 N·m) torque three-valve Ford 6.8L V10 engine operates every Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision school bus. This engine also powers the Ford F-450, F-550 and F-650 chassis cabs and other stripped chassis platforms. Ford has produced more than 1 million 6.8L V10 engines since 1997.
Each bus is equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system including 20 outfitted with wheelchair lifts. The buses are being delivered over the next two weeks.
The new fleet of autogas buses will emit about 4 million fewer pounds of carbon dioxide into the environment over their lifetime.