Blue Bird has begun taking orders for its new electric Type C & D configuration school buses! The company is reportedly the only one in the US currently offering such configurations.
The electric school buses that are ordered as of right now will reportedly be delivered before the end of 2018. The buses have reportedly already finished certification testing and are being delivered.
The CEO and President of Blue Bird Corporation, Phil Horlock, commented on the news: “Our electric buses have received an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board and both HVIP and TVIP listing, which qualify Blue Bird’s electric buses for grants available in California and New York, respectively. That’s great news for our customers and following our Ride & Drives in California, we are already receiving orders from school districts.”
As some further background here, it’s worth noting that the powertrain utilized in the new Blue Bird electric school buses was developed in partnership with EDI and Adomani, so the quality should be quite high. To be a bit more specific, the school buses feature the EDI PowerDrive 7000 EV drivetrain system (for more on that see: Electric Semi Trucks & Heavy-Duty Trucks — Available Models & Planned Models), a variant on a drivetrain solution that has now tallied over 2.5 million miles of commercial fleet operation around the world.
That being the case, durability and reliability shouldn’t be an issue, and there’s a fair likelihood that the Blue Bird buses will actually prove themselves to be more reliable than the diesel school buses which they will be replacing, while at the same time cutting the diesel emissions exposure of those riding and driving the buses.
As far as range goes, the 160 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery-packs should allow for the easy meeting of operational requirements, with the real-world range expectations being 100-120 miles per full-charge. These battery packs are backed by a limited seven-year battery warranty, reportedly.