The five all-electric buses delivered to Madera (Calif.) Unified School District are the first of many Type D buses that can charge with both standard AC or DC fast charge. - Photo courtesy A-Z Bus Sales Inc.

The five all-electric buses delivered to Madera (Calif.) Unified School District are the first of many Type D buses that can charge with both standard AC or DC fast charge.

Photo courtesy A-Z Bus Sales Inc.

A-Z Bus Sales Inc. has delivered the first Type D all-electric school buses with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities to a school district in California.

In August, Madera Unified School District (USD) received a total of five Blue Bird electric school buses, the first of many Type D buses that can charge with both standard AC or DC fast charge, according to a news release from A-Z Bus Sales. The company delivered the first Type A electric buses with V2G capabilities last year in California with partner Micro Bird.

“A-Z Bus and Blue Bird continue to lead the way with new innovative technologies for pupil transportation and we are excited for Madera Unified and their role as trailblazers in the state of California,” said John Landherr, CEO and chairman of A-Z Bus Sales. “This is just another way for school districts to make the adoption of electric technology more affordable and reduce the total cost of ownership.”

Utilizing technology by Cummins electrified power, Blue Bird’s electric school bus is capable of up to 120 miles of range and can be charged using a standard SAE J1772 Level 2 charger or CCS Type-1 DC fast charger, according to A-Z Bus Sales. The V2G technology creates opportunities for energy companies to "buy back" stored energy that the buses hold after a charge, while providing potential for micro-grid services to power buildings or other power generating opportunities.

“Madera Unified School District is excited to have received its first electric transit school buses as it teams with A-Z Bus and the California Energy Commission in helping to reduce carbon emissions and pollution in the Central Valley,” said Travis Griffin, the district’s transportation director. “The support and service that our district has received from A-Z Bus over the years has been exceptional and the overall performance of the Blue Bird demo electric bus was impressive.”

The five electric buses for Madera USD are funded through the California Energy Commission’s School Bus Replacement Program, which is helping schools throughout the state transition from older diesel buses to low-emissions vehicles.

A-Z Bus Sales reportedly works closely with school districts in helping to source funding opportunities for school bus replacements and the infrastructure required to support electric buses. Anticipated savings to school districts with an electric school bus, the company said, include up to 80% savings in fuel costs, up to 50% savings on maintenance, and potential V2G savings.

Blue Bird recently announced that it was increasing its electric bus production capacity to 1,000 units annually in response to a significant boost in sales and growing interest from pupil transporters. The school bus manufacturer's electric bus sales reportedly grew more than 250% in fiscal year 2020, and close to 300 Blue Bird buses are expected to be on the road by year-end.

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