Blue Bird just delivered the first electric-powered school buses to customers in California and Ontario, just in time for the new school year. Seven Type-D All American Rear Engine Electric school buses and one Type A Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus will be in operation this year.
All of the customers who obtained electric school buses were able to do so through the help of financial grants offered by various entities and government programs. These grants helped to pay for all or part of the cost of the buses, as well as some necessary infrastructure costs.
Jack Matrosov of Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, Ontario, was able to add a Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus to his fleet through the use of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), which is offered by Ontario’s government. The grant also allowed him to cover nearly all of the costs of the infrastructure needed for this bus.
The larger, 72-passenger buses ordered by customers in California have a similar design to the many Blue Bird Type D CNG buses that districts operate in the state today. These districts utilized many California-based grants, including South Coast AQMD and HVIP, which helped to pay towards the cost of the buses and infrastructure.
While grants were widely responsible for the purchase of these buses, manufacturers like Blue Bird see a future in this technology that will make these buses more affordable and wide-spread as a viable alternative fuel solution.
Blue Bird and Micro Bird announced their development of electric-powered school buses in 2017, promising deliveries starting in 2018.