FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird recently demonstrated the capabilities of one of its electric school buses here to a handful of energy companies based in the southeastern U.S.
On Sept. 1, the school bus manufacturer hosted a ride-and-drive event with electric and hybrid technology partner Adomani to showcase its Type D electric RE bus for some of the largest utility companies in the country at its Fort Valley manufacturing facility.
Energy companies in attendance included Duke Energy of North Carolina; Santee Cooper of South Carolina; Florida Power & Light; and Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power. The group also included key Blue Bird and Adomani representatives.
“We are all interested in fostering education of potential customers concerning electric vehicles, especially in student transportation,” said Dennis Whitaker, vice president of product development for Blue Bird. “We anticipate these representatives will work with us to develop plans and business cases to provide demonstration fleets to their electricity customers.”
The group discussed ideas for getting the word out on the electric school bus and educating potential customers on the vehicle’s benefits for student transportation.
“The purpose of this ride-and-drive was to inform and demonstrate the capabilities and performance of the Blue Bird electric vehicles to energy companies, and we anticipate that this meeting will lead to many additional ones and that will lead to great cooperation in developing plans, and business cases that will provide demonstration fleets to utilities customers,” said Jim Reynolds, president of Adomani.
The demonstration took place on different types of roadways at varying speeds and traffic patterns around Blue Bird’s facility.
The bus was met with positive response from event participants, according to Blue Bird.
As previously reported, Blue Bird unveiled two new electric school buses — the Type A Micro Bird G5 and the electric Type D chassis that will power the Type D electric RE — at the STN Expo in Reno, Nevada, in July. The school bus manufacturer displayed the Type D RE chassis at the event so that attendees could view the powertrain and battery components.
Blue Bird was awarded a $4.4 million Department of Energy grant in December 2016 to develop a Type C Vision electric school bus.
Meanwhile, Adomani became a publicly traded company in June, and is listed on Nasdaq with the ticker symbol “ADOM.” The initial public offering enables Adomani to use its patented technology to accelerate the design, manufacture, and marketing of its electric and hybrid drivetrains for new vehicles and for use in existing vehicles, including school buses and medium to heavy duty commercial fleet vehicles.