Electric Blue Birds take flight.
Customers in California received seven Type-D All American Rear Engine Electric school buses, while one Type A Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus was delivered to a customer in Ontario.
As it turns out, for now, customers are able to offset most or the entire cost of the electric school buses through various grants. Hopefully, those vehicles will soon become affordable without subsidies:
All of the customers who obtained electric school buses were able to do so through the help of financial grants offered by various entities and government programs. These grants helped to pay for all or part of the cost of the buses, as well as some necessary infrastructure costs.
Jack Matrosov of Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, Ontario, was able to add a Micro Bird G5 Electric school bus to his fleet through the use of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), which is offered by Ontario’s government.
“When the EHVIP Grant became available, we were thrilled to find out that Micro Bird had an electric bus solution in the works. Over 90% of our fleet are Micro Bird buses and we feel these buses offer great quality, and good local service when needed,” said Matrosov. He added that the grant also allowed him to cover nearly all of the costs of the infrastructure needed for this bus.
The larger, 72-passenger buses ordered by customers in California have a similar design to the many Blue Bird Type D CNG buses that districts operate in the state today. These districts utilized many California-based grants, including South Coast AQMD and HVIP, which helped to pay towards the cost of the buses and infrastructure.
“We were excited to find out, in the midst of the search process, that Blue Bird had created an electric bus solution,” said Hector Morales, supervisor of M.O.T. of Mountain View School District in El Monte, CA. “Our mechanic is familiar with Blue Bird Type D buses, so it was an easy choice for our fleet.”
“We decided to go with Blue Bird's electric school buses, because we know the level of service we require will be available to us,” said Mark Toti, transportation manager at Bellflower Unified School District in Bellflower, CA. “We currently operate 26 Blue Bird CNG buses, and feel comfortable relying on local support from Blue Bird in order to introduce this new technology to our existing fleet.”
While grants were widely responsible for the purchase of these buses, manufacturers like Blue Bird see a future in this technology that will make these buses more affordable and wide-spread as a viable alternative fuel solution.
“We are thrilled to see our all-new Blue Bird electric school buses going into the hands of customers for the first time,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “With zero-emissions, our electric school buses provide the cleanest possible environment for our customers and the children they transport. Also, with battery technology constantly advancing and becoming more efficient, we foresee a great future for growth.”