Last month, Blue Bird announced that it would be adding a propane Type A to its lineup of alternative-fuel buses.
The Blue Bird Propane-Powered Micro Bird by Girardin is scheduled to be offered for sale starting this month, with production beginning toward the end of this year.
As part of a partnership between the school bus manufacturer and Roush Performance Products, the Roush liquid propane system was incorporated into the 30-passenger Micro Bird Type A bus.
Here, Micro Bird Inc. President Steve Girardin discusses the new offering with SBF.
SBF: Will the Propane-Powered Micro Bird use technology similar to that in the Propane-Powered Vision?
Steve Girardin: The technology used in the Blue Bird Propane-Powered Micro Bird is similar to that of our Propane-Powered Vision in that it is a liquid propane-powered system.
Liquid propane power has proven performance in all climates and routes throughout North America. It has excellent cold start capability and quiet power when needed for the steepest hills.
The propane engine which will be used in the new Micro Bird offering is the reliable Ford 6.8L engine prepared by Roush engineering, is warranted by Ford Motor Co., and is capable of being serviced at Ford dealerships throughout North America. … The Propane-Powered Micro Bird will be built on the Ford E-450 chassis.
How has Blue Bird’s experience with the Propane-Powered Vision helped in developing the Propane-Powered Micro Bird?
Being first to market with an OEM propane-powered school bus has allowed Blue Bird to gain tremendous experience with propane power systems, propane equipment and fuel suppliers, and the propane industry. This experience pointed to the Propane-Powered Micro Bird as the perfect extension to our affordable green solutions for school transportation.
Would you say there’s growing interest in propane in the school bus industry?
There is definitely a growing interest in propane as awareness of its lower operating costs and proven performance spreads throughout the school bus industry. Blue Bird launched the first OEM-installed Propane-Powered Vision just three years ago. Blue Bird propane-powered school buses are on route or on order from 17-plus states and two-plus provinces of Canada.