West Grand (Colo.) School District used grant funds to help purchase a Blue Bird Type D electric...

West Grand (Colo.) School District used grant funds to help purchase a Blue Bird Type D electric bus and Level 2 charging station.

Photo courtesy Blue Bird Corporation

Colorado has received its first zero-emissions, rear-engine Blue Bird electric school bus.

The Blue Bird Type D bus was delivered to West Grand (Colo.) School District. The bus features an advanced thermal management system and automatic tire chains, which are integral to operating in cold-weather, high-altitude climates.

Darrin Peppard, superintendent for the rural school district, said the bus acquisition makes an important impact.

“This enhanced thermal management system will be a marked improvement for operating the bus in our often frigid winter temperatures,” Peppard said.

The Blue Bird’s thermal management system has been redesigned for better performance and higher efficiency, incorporating separate coolant loops for the battery packs and cabin heating system. Separating the loops allows the batteries to be kept at their ideal operating temperature, independent of driver demand for cabin heat.

“Blue Bird helps school districts save thousands of dollars each year on fuel and maintenance, while prioritizing safety,” said Trevor Rudderham, Blue Bird’s senior vice president of electrification and product planning. “In addition to providing cleaner student transportation, the updated thermal management system with improved performance helps make an already excellent-performing offering more efficient.”

The bus purchase was funded partially by an ALT Fuels Colorado grant, which also helped pay for a Level 2 charging station.

“We’re excited to provide West Grand School District with their first Blue Bird electric bus,” said O.B. Begley, owner of Colorado/West Equipment and a Blue Bird dealer. “Having served this area for more than 30 years, we look forward to continuing to support our school districts as they pave the way for clean transportation.”