A-Z Bus Sales Inc. has delivered two Type D electric school buses to a school district in California as part of the state’s school bus replacement plan using Volkswagen (VW) mitigation funds.
Columbia Union School District received the Blue Bird electric buses in early October, according to a news release from A-Z Bus Sales. The buses are reportedly the first of many electric bus models under the state’s program to replace aging diesel buses.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, California earmarked $130 million of its total $423 million share of VW mitigation funds to replace existing school, transit, and shuttle buses with electric models. Currently, about 425 vehicles are in the process of replacement under the program, according to A-Z Bus Sales.
"A-Z Bus and Blue Bird continue to lead the way with new innovative technologies for pupil transportation, and we are excited for Columbia Union and their role as trailblazers in the state of California,” said John Landherr, CEO and chairman of A-Z Bus Sales. “Converting old diesel-powered school buses to zero-emission electric technology protects our school age children. It also helps our communities in California clean the air.”
Utilizing technology by Cummins electrified power, the Blue Bird electric school bus has a range of up to 120 miles and can make use of regenerative braking technology to maximize route lengths, according to A-Z Bus Sales.
“We are very excited to put these buses into service for our community. It is amazing that our little district can be a leader for our county, region, and state in implementing this grant,” said Joe Aldridge, superintendent at Columbia Union School District. “These buses provide a smooth quiet ride that produce no emissions directly. Our students will continue to benefit from these buses for years to come.”
A-Z Bus Sales reportedly works closely with school districts to help 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, and up to 50% savings on maintenance.
Blue Bird recently announced that there has been a surge in demand across the U.S. for its electric bus since its introduction in 2018. To meet the increasing demand for the alt-fuel buses, the school bus manufacturer is ramping up its electric bus production capacity to 1,000 units annually.