With its electric-powered school sales up more than 250 percent in fiscal 2020 compared with last year, and an ever-increasing interest from school districts and fleet operators across the US and Canada, Blue Bird is ramping up its electric bus production capacity to 1,000 units annually, to meet the anticipated growth in demand.
“School bus customers are increasingly looking at alternative-power solutions to the traditional diesel engine that has been the staple product for more than 40 years,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “About 50 percent of Blue Bird’s bus sales today are non-diesel, twice the industry average, as we have led the market in alternative-power solutions over the past ten years, with our best-in-class propane engine paving the way.
“Now we are seeing an unprecedented interest in our electric-powered buses,” added Horlock. “We expect to have close to 300 on the road by year-end, since delivering our first zero-emissions bus just two years ago. With more than 600,000 school buses on the road today in the US and Canada, and 95 percent of them diesel with an average age of about 11 years, the addressable market of America’s largest mass-transportation system represents a substantial $150 billion opportunity for electric buses over the next 20 years or so.
“With the widest range of electric school bus offerings today, available in Type A, Type C and Type D configurations, our focus on alternative-power solutions is a passion in Blue Bird and we intend to remain at the forefront,” concluded Horlock.
Blue Bird’s electric school buses are 100% electric, produce zero emissions, and offer Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charging and discharging capability, allowing users to sell power back to the electric grid at peak-demand times (particularly in summer when school buses are idle), thereby reducing operating costs. The buses currently utilize lithium-ion batteries to power an electric motor, and have equal-to or better-than performance to that of a bus operated by a combustion engine with much lower operating costs. They save districts thousands of dollars annually in fuel and maintenance costs since there is no engine or transmission to service, oil and filter changes to consider, or typical diesel-specific items such as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to maintain.
For more information on Blue Bird’s electric buses, visit www.blue-bird.com/electric.
About Blue Bird Corporation
Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative-fuel applications with its propane-powered, electric-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.