Blue Bird Corporation has delivered its first electric school bus to Michigan.
The zero-emission vehicle will serve Dearborn Public Schools as part of a pilot program that's expected to usher in a new era of clean student transportation for the school district. Dearborn Public Schools is the third largest school district in Michigan with 37 neighborhood elementary, middle, and high schools educating more than 20,000 students.
Dearborn Public Schools received an advanced Blue Bird All American RE electric school bus. The school bus can carry a maximum of 84 passengers for up to 120 miles on a single charge. The vehicle takes between three and eight hours to fully recharge depending on the charging infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to add the first electric vehicle to our school bus fleet and to test the school bus in our real-world environment year-round,” said Glenn Maleyko, superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools. “Electric school buses help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Today marks an important step as we start to evaluate this new technology.”
“Blue Bird is recognized as a technology leader and innovator of zero-emission school buses in North America,” said Britton Smith, senior vice president of electrification and chief strategy officer of Blue Bird Corporation, which has more than 850 electric-powered school buses in operation. “We are excited to deliver our first electric bus to Michigan, a state on the cutting edge of automotive innovation and eMobility. Blue Bird continually expands its electric vehicle footprint and market reach. Today, Blue Bird electric buses transport thousands of school children every day in the majority of U.S. states.”
Dearborn Public Schools has solely relied on Blue Bird for more than 30 years to meet its student transportation needs and currently maintains a fleet of more than 70 Blue Bird buses. The transition to electric vehicles will help the school district to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions while improving student and community health.
Blue Bird’s electric school bus was partially funded by a $300,000 grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2021 American Rescue Plan Electric School Bus Rebate program. The EPA recently awarded extra funding to Dearborn Public Schools for up to 18 additional electric school buses through the 2022 Clean School Bus rebate program. The EPA classifies Dearborn Public Schools as a priority district as about 70 percent of the families in the district qualify as low-income.
Dearborn Public Schools anticipates benefiting from significant cost saving opportunities by reducing or eliminating the fuel and maintenance costs tied to traditional diesel-powered vehicles. Select Blue Bird customers reported fuel costs of up to 49 cents per mile for their diesel buses, compared to an average 14 cents per mile in energy costs for electric buses.