Blue Bird premieres next-generation electric school bus

Blue Bird, maker of iconic yellow school buses, showed off its next-generation Vision Type C electric school bus at the recent STN Expo West, a trade show for the student transportation industry.

The Vision’s powertrain was developed in partnership with Accelera, a business segment of engine-maker Cummins. The new electric school bus features a next-generation battery pack with a capacity of 196 kWh, a 25-percent capacity increase compared to Blue Bird’s current models. The battery enables a vehicle range of up to 130 miles, and supports a fast-charging rate of 80 kW.

Blue Bird has improved the warranty on the upgraded system to allow for 360 MWh of energy throughput, more than double the amount compared to the standard battery offering. This will benefit Blue Bird customers who utilize the batteries’ revenue-generating vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities.

The next-gen pack is more compact and lighter than the current one. This allowed Blue Bird to reduce the vehicle weight by 1,000 lbs and to increase the seating capacity from 72 to 77 passengers.

There’s more! The Vision e-bus performs even better in cold climates than its predecessor. An improved engineering design and internally insulated batteries limit the heat loss in the vehicle’s energy storage system. Furthermore, a new optional fuel-fired heating system generates over 20 percent more cabin heat.

“With our next-generation Vision electric school bus, we continue to take clean student transportation to the next performance level and provide superior, zero-emission buses to school districts across North America,” said Britton Smith, President of Blue Bird, which operates nearly 1,000 electric school buses in North America today.

Blue Bird recently celebrated the grand opening of its EV Build-up Center, which will enable it to increase its long-term production capacity to 5,000 electric school buses a year.

“Accelera’s partnership with Blue Bird is in its fifth year, and together we are providing safe, efficient and sustainable electric school buses in North America,” said Brian Wilson, General Manager of Electrified Components at Accelera. “Decarbonizing fleets is not easy, but collaborations like this are defining a new era of excellence in technology innovation and service support.”

Source: Blue Bird

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