Blue Bird's Vision propane and gasoline school buses will soon include Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine...

Blue Bird's Vision propane and gasoline school buses will soon include Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine (shown here) and Gen 5, Roush CleanTech’s advanced fuel system technology.

Photo courtesy Roush CleanTech

Blue Bird will begin integrating Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine and a purpose-built fuel system into its propane and gasoline Vision school buses this spring.

Roush CleanTech designed Gen 5, the advanced fuel system technology, which is engineered specifically for school buses, according to a news release from the school bus manufacturer and fuel systems supplier.

The 2022 Blue Bird Vision with the propane and gasoline 7.3L engine features a best-in-class combination of horsepower and torque. In addition, the compact and lighter weight 7.3L engine is expected to achieve improved fuel economy over the 6.8L engine.

Roush CleanTech has manufactured over 30,000 propane and gasoline fuel systems for Blue Bird buses equipped with Ford’s 6.8L engine.

“The exclusive partnership between Blue Bird, Roush CleanTech, and Ford continues to flourish as we launch Ford’s new engine with cutting-edge fuel systems in our Vision and Micro Bird school buses,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “We’ve already heard excitement from our customers about this compact, more powerful, and easier-to-maintain engine with better fuel economy.”

The propane and gasoline Vision buses will also incorporate the newly engineered routing of the wiring and fuel lines, centered between the frame rails for improved quality, simplicity of maintenance, and product longevity. Additionally, a newly designed grille will bring a fresh face to a familiar brand, according to Blue Bird and Roush CleanTech.

Ford’s new 350-horsepower 7.3L engine is narrower than the previous 6.8L, which can allow more room for service work. New features of the fuel system include stronger and lighter forged fuel rails and unique routing that keeps the engine-fuel distribution organized. The system benefits from Ford’s performance and quality characteristics, such as horsepower, torque, and towing, and maintains the OEM factory warranty.

“Backed by 45 years of Roush engineering, the Gen 5 is the next advancement in powertrain technology, delivering lots of power in a smaller package,” said Todd Mouw, president of Roush CleanTech. “Our advanced fuel system integrates seamlessly with the new Ford engine to give school bus customers the most cost-effective product on the market.”

The Gen 5 propane engine is certified to the California Air Resources Board’s optional low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standard of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhp-hr). The Gen 5 system reduces NOx and greenhouse gas emissions, which helps optimize fuel efficiency. It can also operate on renewable propane for further potential reduction of emissions and carbon levels. The engine is designed to meet current and future emissions requirements, according to Blue Bird and Roush CleanTech.

Orders are now being taken for Blue Bird’s Vision school buses with the new engine and fuel system.