Volkswagen Settlement Payouts

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Districts across the US are starting to receive their cut of the Volkswagen Settlement and using the funds to purchase eco-friendly buses. From propane buses to electric buses cities are starting to upgrade their fleets. Two articles linked below detail how the state of Colorado are applying the funds they received to their public transit fleets.

Fort Collins

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2019/04/18/fort-collins-getting-5-eco-friendly-buses-out-volkswagen-settlement/3509311002/

Denver

https://www.apnews.com/89f99f684d854106ae2d46e4b159390c

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $85 Million Funding Opportunity for Technologically Advanced Transit Buses

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced the opportunity for eligible applicants to apply for up to $85 million in competitive grant funds through FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program.  The Low-No Program helps project sponsors purchase or lease low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for transit revenue operations, including related equipment or facilities.

Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website at http://transit.dot.gov/howtoapply and in the “FIND” module of GRANTS.GOV.  The funding opportunity ID is FTA-2019-002-TPM-LowNo. Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by May 14, 2019

View our FDOT contract and vehicles:

http://www.fts4buses.com/fdot-vehicles

For more information, please see the following links:

Low or No Emission Bus Program Announcement
Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program
How to Apply

3 Reasons to Switch a Bus Fleet to Propane Autogas

2013 - 19 Passenger Micro Bird Propane Interior Luggage - FTS Stock   Contact FTS for more information on the propane commercial bus.

2013 - 19 Passenger Micro Bird Propane Interior Luggage - FTS Stock

Contact FTS for more information on the propane commercial bus.

As more bus fleets look for ways to lower emissions and comply with government regulations, many are turning to propane autogas as a proven, clean alternative fuel. Not only are propane autogas buses better for the environment than traditional fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, but they are also better on a bus fleet’s budget and provide the convenience fleet managers are accustomed to with traditional fuels.

With an engine that thrives in the winter, a customizable refueling strategy and minimal, if any, updates to garaging facilities, propane autogas buses provide fleet owners with a smooth transition to an alternative fuel while offering the lowest total cost-of-ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle. Bus fleets making the switch all over the country are discovering these three, of many, reasons why propane autogas is the right fuel for them.

Winter Maintenance

Propane autogas buses love cold weather and have no issues with the elements, making the fuel more affordable to operate. In cold temperatures, diesel buses can be rendered inoperable, requiring owners to tether their vehicles to engine block heaters for hours with no assurance the vehicle will crank when needed. In most regions, diesel buses require fuel conditioners to address fuel gelling issues, creating an additional maintenance cost. If these conditioners are not used, the buses can break down and need to be taken out of service. Propane autogas engines provide reliable performance, regardless of the temperature, and they don’t require added fluids or engine block heaters, saving bus fleets from additional costs every winter.

Because propane autogas vehicles start up immediately, bus fleets also do not need to worry about scheduling overtime for drivers and maintenance professionals to start up buses before they’re needed, as is the case with diesel. Not to mention, heat is supplied to cabs much faster than in a diesel vehicle. This allows drivers to focus on the road and gives passengers a safe and warm ride to their destination. This can contribute to increased driver retention and greater overall job satisfaction. In interviews conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council, bus drivers report the vehicles are cleaner, quieter, and easier to operate than diesel buses.

Customized Refueling Options

No two bus fleets are alike, so it is no surprise that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for refueling. Fortunately, propane autogas refueling infrastructure is affordable and scalable. Bus fleet managers can choose from multiple propane autogas refueling solutions that allow them to create a custom designed program that specifically fits their needs:

  • On-site refueling solutions are recommended for fleets both small and large that require a centralized refueling station. Site preparation is minimal and similar to what many fleets already have in place, including a level area for vehicle refueling, crash protection, and an electrical supply for the pump and dispensers. Bus fleets have the option to own fuel tanks and dispensers or lease them from a propane supplier. Both options allow for infrastructure to easily expand with the growth of the fleet.

  • A fuel storage tank, pump, and dispenser mounted on a trailer provides a convenient temporary refueling solution for bus fleets in the process of installing permanent infrastructure. Replenishing the fuel storage tank is scheduled with the propane supplier.

  • For bus fleets that do not have plans to install infrastructure, mobile refueling is a viable solution. In this scenario, the bus fleet’s propane supplier works with the customer to create a customized plan for refueling the vehicles on-site with a bobtail delivery truck. 

In many cases, bus fleet managers can secure an annual or long-term fuel contract with their propane autogas supplier, locking in the price of the fuel regardless of fluctuations. Propane suppliers and infrastructure providers will work with you to determine the best refueling strategy for your bus fleet.

Maintenance and Garaging Facilities

In most cases, existing maintenance and garaging facilities will not require costly infrastructure changes during a transition to propane autogas. This is a stark contrast to many other alternative fuels like CNG and EVs. If existing buildings are code compliant for diesel and gasoline, typically there are often no infrastructure changes required for propane autogas. Ventilation requirements for propane autogas are the same as those for gasoline and diesel, and there are no specific modifications necessary to meet gas detection, sources of ignition, and electrical requirements. Segregation of major and minor repairs is not required either.

Bus facility managers should always check with their local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), though, which may have different codes than those set by the National Fire Protection Association, International Building Code, and National Electric Code.

Incorporating propane autogas into a fleet doesn’t take a lot of work, from the garaging requirements to affordable refueling infrastructure. Once it’s up and running, bus fleet owners quickly see why propane autogas boasts the lowest total cost-of-ownership among any fleet vehicle fuel available. These benefits are all major reasons why so many bus fleets are making the transition to propane autogas. 

Contract with the Florida Department of Transportation’s TRIPS Program

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                FTS is pleased to announce we have been awarded a Contract with the Florida Department of Transportation’s TRIPS Program to sell the ENC EZ Rider II Low Floor Heavy Duty Bus. The EZ Rider II offers operators the highest capacity and the widest variety of options available in the market. Available with Cummins Diesel or Compressed Natural Gas, the EZ-Rider II also offers front or center door ramps, a transit style air conditioning compressor, multiple floor plan configurations and a maintenance friendly design to ensure a longer life and lower maintenance costs than our competition. For more information on the EZ Rider II, Contract TRIPS-17-MD-FTS or to schedule a demo, please contact Robert Frick rfrick@fts4buses.com or call (800) 282 – 8617.  

2018 Blue Bird Experience

 On May 11, 2018 FTS hosted The 2018 Blue Bird Experience Ride & Drive Event at Marchant Field in Lakeland, Florida. The Experience gave attendees the chance to gain key knowledge to advance their school district's potential and to find new ways to increase safety and put more money back into the classrooms. 

The event included in-person demos, ride and drives, exhibits, vendor showcase and technology orientation sessions. With vendors like Bendix, Cummins, Roush, Blue Bird and more there was plenty of new technologies to view. 

During this event Blue Bird debuted the new Electric School Bus along with a Propane, Gas, CNG and Diesel school bus. Also included in this event was the Bendix Stability Control demonstration (see video below). 

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Blue Bird Now Taking Orders For Electric School Buses To Be Delivered In 2018

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contract with the Florida Department of Transportation’s TRIPS Program

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                FTS is pleased to announce we have been awarded a Contract with the Florida Department of Transportation’s TRIPS Program to sell the ENC EZ Rider II Low Floor Heavy Duty Bus. The EZ Rider II offers operators the highest capacity and the widest variety of options available in the market. Available with Cummins Diesel or Compressed Natural Gas, the EZ-Rider II also offers front or center door ramps, a transit style air conditioning compressor, multiple floor plan configurations and a maintenance friendly design to ensure a longer life and lower maintenance costs than our competition. For more information on the EZ Rider II, Contract TRIPS-17-MD-FTS or to schedule a demo, please contact Robert Frick rfrick@fts4buses.com or call (800) 282 – 8617.  

Introducing the All-New BraunAbility Dodge Simple Stow™ Infloor

The all-new Dodge Simple Stow Infloor is a cost-effective, ADA compliant conversion that allows operators to easily and safely accommodate both wheelchair and ambulatory passengers. This application features a manual infloor ramp with a stow/deploy handle for easy operation.

The all-new Dodge Simple Stow Infloor is a cost-effective, ADA compliant conversion that allows operators to easily and safely accommodate both wheelchair and ambulatory passengers. This application features a manual infloor ramp with a stow/deploy handle for easy operation.

Click on this video to view a product demonstration: 

Click on the links below to learn more

 

 

DIESEL AND PROPANE AND GAS, OH MY!

One of the most important decisions regarding a bus purchase is the type of fuel to choose. There is a lot of conflicting information out there today...those that say alternative fuels are not worth pursuing, or that diesel is going the way of the dinosaur. The fact of the matter is, each fleet may operate a different fuel type in order to achieve their best total cost of ownership, or TCO. 

Hundreds of Stakeholders Urge Congress to Renew Alt-Fuel Tax Credit

Hundreds of Stakeholders Urge Congress to Renew Alt-Fuel Tax Credit

More than 300 organizations representing users, retailers, customers, fleet managers, utilities, and producers of clean alternative fuels, including natural gas and propane, have signed a letter urging Congress to reinstate the $0.50/gallon alternative fuels tax credit (AFTC). The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and NGVAmerica helped spearhead the effort.

Fla.'s JTA opens test track for future self-driving transit shuttles

Fla.'s JTA opens test track for future self-driving transit shuttles

The self-driving vehicle starts moving as silently as the computer that operates it and the electric battery that powers it. There is none of the hiss that accompanies a train on electrified rails.This transit vehicle runs on rubber tires and pavement as it glides down a test track opened Wednesday by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.