School bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp. has seen a surge in demand across the U.S. for its electric bus since its introduction in 2018.
While most electric buses have been sold in California, there is interest in them nationwide, and they are hitting the road all over the country, according to a news release from Blue Bird.
“With districts able to obtain grant and other financial assistance, locations that we have deployed electric school buses in were the first in their state to have an [electric vehicle] EV bus in their fleet,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “As the only manufacturer currently producing every bus type in electric, we can help districts start to introduce and potentially transform their entire fleet over time to zero emissions.”
Pupil transporters in many states with varying climates and road conditions are transitioning their school bus fleets to alternative-power solutions such as propane and electric to benefit their communities with cleaner air.
“As districts continue to see the environmental benefits of low- and zero-emissions solutions, such as electric, it is inevitable for our industry to see this shift,” Horlock added. “In fact, over 50% of what we produce is an alternative to diesel, and we are prepared to meet further growth in demand.”
As previously reported, the school bus manufacturer is boosting its electric bus production capacity to 1,000 units annually to meet the increasing demand for the alt-fuel buses.
Another benefit: electric buses built by Blue Bird are now equipped with vehicle to grid (V2G) capability, allowing communities to use electric buses as backup power sources in emergency situations, as well as revenue generators by selling electricity back to the grid while the bus is plugged in during peak power use times.
Additionally, electric buses also have fewer parts to maintain, which helps school districts and school bus companies see immediate savings on maintenance costs.
“The usual concern with deciding to introduce electric in a new area is the climate — will it work in cold weather?” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer for Blue Bird. “We have deployed buses in over 25% of all states in the U.S., including cold climates such as North Dakota and New York, as well as hot areas such as Texas and Georgia. Charging is a key part of the equation that districts should really look into, and we have an incredible dealership network that helps districts navigate infrastructure setup to ensure effective charging and operation.”