West Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools received the state’s first zero emissions electric bus, a Blue Bird Vision equipped with the Cummins PowerDrive system, enabling students to ride in an all-electric powered bus when they return to school in August.
The school district purchased the bus with assistance from the North Dakota Department of Commerce through the state’s energy program. The Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and Cass County Electric—in conjunction with Minnkota Power Cooperative—also provided funding.
The Blue Bird electric school bus is 100% electric, emitting zero emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons; even heating the bus is done electrically.
The bus, which can travel up to 120 miles between charges, will recharge at the district’s on-site charging station. It is designed to operate in a variety of environments, and offers comparable vehicle performance to a bus with a traditional internal combustion engine, yet requires no oil changes, fuel or air filters, transmission service or additional fluids. The bus can operate in temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees.
Cummins has a long history of powering the big yellow bus and the fully-electric Cummins PowerDrive system in the Blue Bird Vision Electric bus carries forward the same quality and reliability that customers have come to expect. Plus, school districts benefit from reduced maintenance and the associated costs while providing sustainable transport for students.—Julie Furber, vice president of electrified power for Cummins
The school district operates 54 buses in its fleet. If provided additional grant money, the school district plans to add more electric vehicles.
This bus will be widely seen at promotional events this summer throughout the state, and then assigned a daily route for the 2019-2020 school year.