Blue Bird unveiled two new electric-powered school buses at the STN Tradeshow in Las Vegas: a Type A Micro Bird G5 electric-powered school bus and an all-new electric Type D chassis which will power its Type D All-American rear engine (RE) school bus.
The Blue Bird All American RE electric bus chassis was developed in conjunction with California-based Adomani, Inc. and operates on an energy-efficient electric drivetrain supplied by Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI). The bus offers battery capacities of 100-150 kWh with an expected 80-100 miles range from a single charge, depending on driving habits.
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is also under development for this bus, which allows the bus to deliver electricity back into the grid, allowing contractors and school districts to “sell back” energy to power companies. This helps to reduce maintenance expenses and allow users to experience lower fueling costs that will drive a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Additionally, a Type A Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus on a Ford E450 chassis, which touts a range of up to 100 miles in a single charge, made its debut at the show. Both the Micro Bird G5 Electric bus and T3RE “All American” Blue Bird bus will be available in 2018.
The Micro Bird G5 Electric will be offered as an integrated and certified solution that expands on Blue Bird’s market leading school bus product line With 100 miles of range in almost all climates and comparable performances with a combustion engine, we are particularly proud that our Micro Bird G5 Electric will continue to further Blue Bird’s leadership in the reduction of greenhouse gases.—Steve Girardin, President of Micro Bird
With zero emissions, low operating costs and terrific electric engine development partners in Adomani and EDI, we believe now is a great time to bring these new electric solutions to the market.—Phil Horlock, President and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation
This announcement comes on the heels of a $4.4-million Department of Energy grant awarded to Blue Bird in December of 2016 to develop a Type C Vision electric-powered school bus. (Earlier post.)The company built its first electric-powered bus in 1994 for deployment in Southern California as a demonstration project. These new buses incorporate the latest technological advancements in electric motors, batteries and control systems.
Blue Bird chose to display the Type D RE chassis at the STN Expo so that visitors could clearly see the powertrain and battery components.
The body will be exactly the same as the All American RE model you currently see on diesel units. After the show, this chassis will immediately be delivered to our design group in Fort Valley for body mount and to enter the ‘test and validation’ phase. Start of production will be in 2018.—Dennis Whitaker, Vice President of Product Development at Blue Bird