LONG ISLAND, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 50 school district leaders from all across the state of New York are plugging in to electric school buses and the benefits these buses offer to schools, students and their communities with two events that showcased Blue Bird’s newest bus offering.
Currently on an inaugural cross-country tour, this battery-powered prototype bus made a stop on April 10th in Bay Shore, Long Island, where school board members, superintendents and transportation officials participated in a two-hour introduction and test ride of the bus.
The event was hosted by Suffolk Transportation Service, Suffolk County’s largest pupil transportation provider. Blue Bird Corporation built the electric-powered All American bus, utilizing its exclusive ADOMANI/EDI electric drivetrain.
“Electric and hybrid buses will have a big role in the future of pupil transportation on Long Island. Our school districts already know this and have been asking us when an electric bus will be available,” said John Corrado, president and CEO of Suffolk Transportation Service. “In the last several years, we began to develop our own hybrid vehicle and also encouraged Blue Bird, one of the nation’s largest bus manufacturers, to focus on electric technology.”
Blue Bird is currently the only manufacturer to offer the larger Type C and D configurations to its line-up of buses, a first for the industry. “The first thing you notice is that it has no tailpipe. With zero emissions, it is the cleanest school bus in the U.S., yet has just as much power as a gas or diesel powered vehicle,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation, who discussed the bus at the event. “Mechanically, the bus is amazingly simple and as a result, is much easier and less costly to maintain. Of course, it offers huge savings in fuel costs.”
“We encourage and welcome the commitment of Blue Bird, which is taking the lead in producing buses that run on alternative sources of energy,” said Corrado, who said he expects that an all-electric bus will begin operating on a regular school district route in Suffolk County sometime this year. Suffolk Transportation Service operates over 1,400 vehicles, mainly diesel buses and gasoline vans, serving 18 school districts.
The event was hosted by the Islip Town School Board Association, comprised of board of education members from districts throughout the Town of Islip. “We’re very excited to be at a point at which this cutting edge bus is ready to go into service. This can be a win-win for both the taxpayers and the environment,” said Sue Schnebel, superintendent of Islip School District.
While electric buses are more costly, members of the Islip Town School Board Association learned about grants and funding approaches that are available, which can dramatically reduce the initial $350,000 price tag. Plus, an electric bus’ operating expenses are estimated to be 90 percent less than diesel, further driving down costs.
Fred Koelbel, director of facilities and transportation for Port Jefferson School District, also attended the event and was thrilled by the potential these buses could offer to the community. “What a message students receive when they ride on a bus like this. There are messages about sustainability, green energy, and messages about the future. This becomes something they are exposed to every day on their way to and from school.”
On April 11th, one of Blue Bird’s dealers in New York, Bird Bus Sales, also hosted a public “Blue Bird Experience” event at their dealership, where school districts, utility companies and electric vehicle enthusiasts participated in multiple ride-and-drives, including the All American RE Electric bus. Blue Bird is currently hosting ride-and-drive events across North America, with the next stop taking place in Selma, TX. Buses ordered in the next few months will be delivered in early fall, providing students and communities with “zero emissions” transportation in the next school year.
Blue Bird’s electric buses are also the only electric school buses that qualify for the TVIP grant in New York, which offers millions of dollars towards the purchase of alternatively fueled vehicles. With the help of a U.S. Department of Energy grant, Blue Bird will also offer electric buses with vehicle-to-grid capability in 2019, allowing schools to sell energy back to power companies at peak times.
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 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.