Motiva takes first step to expand into petrochemicals with MOUs with TechnipFMC and Honeywell UOP; multi-billion dollar investments
Global debut of Buick Enspire electric concept SUV in China; GM China sales up 2% in February, Buick up 4%

Blue Bird electric school buses in pre-production, deliveries this year; Type C & D configurations

Blue Bird is taking orders for its electric school buses for delivery in 2018. Blue Bird is the only school bus OEM to offer electric Type C & D configurations. (Earlier post.) Blue Bird electric buses have completed certification testing; they are now in pre-production.

RE-Electric-Vehicle_CHICO CA-2

Blue Bird RE Electric.

Our electric buses have received an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board and both HVIP and TVIP listing, which qualify Blue Bird’s electric buses for grants available in California and New York, respectively. That’s great news for our customers and following our Ride & Drives in California, we are already receiving orders from school districts.

—Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation

The Blue Bus powertrain was developed in partnership with Adomani and EDI. The buses feature the EDI PowerDrive 7000 EV drivetrain system. The EDI PowerDrive has surpassed more than 2.5 million miles in a commercial fleet setting of city buses deployed in rural and city routes.



With up to 160 kWh lithium-ion battery packs, the buses are expected to deliver 100-120 mile range on a single charge. Blue Bird offers a limited seven-year battery warranty.


Blue Bird Vision Electric.

A portable, standard charging station can recharge on a single shift or overnight. Telematics and remote monitoring capability available

Vehicle-to-Grid capability is coming in 2019, supported by a US Department of Energy (DOE) development grant.

The buses exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards with Colorado Racking and Kentucky Pole Test certification standard on every Blue Bird bus.



Good to read that more electric school buses will be available.

LION Electric School buses of Saint-Jérome QC has already delivered their first 100 winterized light body (fibre) units to various school boards and private operators. Harsh weather range and total initial price depend on battery pack size purchased and winterization installed.

Even with $125K CAN (95K USD) subsidy per bus, operators claim that the NET initial price is still $50K CAN (38K USD) higher than equivalent steel/diesel units.

The subsidy has been reduced to $105K CAN ( 80K USD) on 1st April 2018 by is almost fully compensated by batteries reduced price.

Drivers and students are very pleased with the smooth quiet operation of the electric units.


We should have done BEV school buses decades ago.

Brian P

... back before suitable batteries had been developed to the point of being suitable for commercial production??

The previous best choice, NiMH, has about half the energy density of Li-ion. Li-ion was not commercialised until the 1990s, and it's only in the last few years that costs have come down and production volumes have gone up enough for them to be suitable for motor vehicles, and that process is still ongoing.

NiMH itself was only first commercialised in 1989 and took a few years after that before being ready for use in motor vehicles (e.g. Prius).

School buses are a good BEV application but it couldn't have happened "decades" ago, because batteries adequate for the job were not ready for prime time yet.


Brian P is correct, suitable batteries where not available at a decent price.

Even today, operators are reluctant to pay more, i.e. (+50K CAN including a 125K $CAN subsidy) per e-bus for superior, longer lasting, fiber body units. Future automated driverless units may do the trick?

Much higher fuel price and restrictions on use of ICE buses could help?


A large school bus has plenty of room and weight capacity for SLA. They only need to go 50 miles in the morning then they can recharge for the afternoon.

Brian P

Lead-acid batteries have about 40 Wh/kg ... a 160 kWh battery pack would weigh an astonishing 4000 kg (Comparable to the weight of the cargo!) and take 1600 litres of space. And don't forget that carrying such a heavy battery would require the chassis to be strengthened and then the suspension beefed up and next thing you know it's doubled the mass of the vehicle and now you don't need 160 kWh any more, you need a lot more than that to get the range, which ends up even heavier ... and it doesn't work. The cargo ends up being just the weight of the batteries with nothing left for the cargo itself.

Lead acid is good for normal automotive starting batteries, and forklifts (that need to be heavy to perform their function anyhow), and golf carts (that don't need to go very fast or very far). That's it.


It depends on range required, the range is not that far. Bus chassis are very strong for a vehicle used for local operation. Your numbers make assumptions that are not spelled out. Nice try, but you are wrong.

Brian P

BEVs using lead-acid batteries were never commercially successful in this or any other application outside of golf carts and forklifts, and are now of only historical interest for vehicle propulsion. Over and out.


The EV-1 had lead acid, try again.

Derek Wallner

Electric school buses must be bought out by all schools that are private, whose students pay a lot of money for tuition. Because students who pay money must study in good conditions and ride in good school buses. I recommend the research proposal writing service for all students of free schools that have a lower level of education than students who study in paid schools. Because students who study in free schools need help with homework because the teachers do not give them enough educational information in schools.

The comments to this entry are closed.