Alternative Fuels

Blue Bird, Cummins Partner on Electric School Bus Support in California

Posted on September 3, 2019
Blue Bird Corp. and Cummins Inc. announced a vehicle electrification partnership to support California-based customers. Shown here is one of Chico (Calif.) Unified School District's Blue Bird Electric Vision school buses. File photo courtesy Blue Bird
Blue Bird Corp. and Cummins Inc. announced a vehicle electrification partnership to support California-based customers. Shown here is one of Chico (Calif.) Unified School District's Blue Bird Electric Vision school buses. File photo courtesy Blue Bird

MILPITAS, Calif. — Blue Bird Corp. and Cummins Inc. announced a vehicle electrification partnership to support California-based customers on Thursday.

Cummins, which produces the all-electric drivetrains that power Blue Bird’s Electric Vision and Electric All American buses, has committed to investing $500 million in electrification over three years to bring fully-electric and hybrid solutions to market across a wide range of applications, according to a news release from Blue Bird and Cummins.

Blue Bird, which has been working with electric technology in school buses since 1994, recently secured the partnership with the Cummins electrified power business segment.

Nearly 100 electric school buses powered by a Cummins electric drivetrain have been ordered to date from Blue Bird Corp. The overwhelming majority of the bus orders are from California school districts.

California is reportedly leading the way in the electrification of school bus fleets. Hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and subsidies have been or will be made available to districts that want to add electric buses to their fleets. However, until recently, districts had limited options in electric bus providers and even fewer choices for localized service and support of electric buses, according to Blue Bird and Cummins.

“Cummins and Blue Bird are committed to supporting our California-based customers in ensuring that we are safely transporting our children and improving air quality for our communities,” said Julie Furber, vice president of electrified power at Cummins Inc. “Schools can count on Cummins to deliver the same level of support and service network for these electric buses that we’ve always delivered through our 13 wholly-owned branch locations and approximately 200 service technicians in California."

The partnership provides California schools with nearly 200 years of experience supporting customers and more than 30 years of electric drivetrain experience, according to Blue Bird and Cummins.

“The amount of interest has been outstanding; people are very excited about a 100% electric- powered school bus,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “The nation is increasingly interested in electric vehicle transportation in general, and we anticipate rapid growth of electric school buses as more districts are educated on the zero-emission and low-maintenance benefits they bring to their local communities.”

The buses are capable of up to 120 miles of range and can be recharged in approximately 8 hours using a standard SAE J1772 Level 2 charger.

Of the buses ordered, many will be deployed this year, with the remaining being delivered in 2020. For more information on Blue Bird’s electric school buses, visit www.blue-bird.com/electric.

Related Topics: Blue Bird, California, Cummins, electric bus

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