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Blue Bird debuts electric step van; partners with Xos and Morgan Olson to build prototype on Class 5-6 stripped chassis

Leading school bus manufacturer Blue Bird unveiled the operating prototype of an electric-powered step van and underlying stripped chassis at the 2024 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. Blue Bird teamed up with Xos and Morgan Olson to build the prototype of the last-mile delivery commercial vehicle.


Blue Bird is building on its nearly century-long expertise in school bus manufacturing to expand its zero-emission transportation solutions to the commercial vehicle market. The last-mile delivery step van and stripped chassis feature a 140kWh Lithium-ion battery. The batteries are mounted inside the frame rails for superior battery protection. The battery pack supports a vehicle range of up to 130 miles on a single charge. It takes between one and twelve hours to fully recharge depending on the charging infrastructure.

Blue Bird’s prototype is based on a 178" wheelbase for last-mile-delivery vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of up to 23,000 pounds. The company utilizes lightweight materials and components for its innovative vehicle platform maximizing vehicle payload while continuing to prioritize vehicle safety.

Blue Bird offers several safety features on its EV prototype not standard on comparable electric vehicles to enhance driver protection and familiarity. This includes “hill hold” which prevents the vehicle from rolling backward or forward when sitting stationary on a hill, and “electric creep” which allows the vehicle to slowly start moving from a stop when the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal to simulate a gasoline engine in gear. In addition, the Blue Bird stripped chassis provides 55-degree, best-in-class wheel cut to improve maneuverability in tight urban settings.

In 2022, Blue Bird introduced its EV commercial chassis concept vehicle at ACT Expo. This week, we will debut the operating prototype of our electric-powered step van at the 2024 ACT Expo that’s based on industry-leading EV technology. For nearly a century, Blue Bird has perfected its core capabilities of designing, engineering and manufacturing school buses from the ground up. Now we are one step closer to applying our world-class vehicle manufacturing expertise and expanding our electric-powered product range to the commercial vehicle market.

—Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corporation

The powertrain technology from Xos is a key feature in Blue Bird’s step van. Additionally, this collaboration includes Morgan Olson, a Michigan-based builder of work truck bodies, which is responsible for providing the body for the prototype.

Blue Bird anticipates its electric-powered stripped chassis will be commercially available in late 2024. The company is the only US-owned and operated school bus manufacturer in the United States. In addition, Blue Bird is the number one builder of electric school buses in North America with more than 1,500 zero-emission school buses in operation today.



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