The US American bus maker Blue Bird says their electric school buses sell so well, they will increase production capacity to 1,000 units a year. Also in Russia, Kamaz announced plans to build twice as many e-buses next year.
For Blue Bird, the specialisation in electric school buses is paying off. Sales were up more than 250 per cent in 2020 compared with last year. Adding to this “an ever-increasing interest from school districts and fleet operators across the US and Canada,” Blue Bird said they were ramping up electric bus production capacity to 1,000 units annually.
Blue Bird estimates to see 300 electric school buses on the road by the year’s end since delivering their first zero-emissions bus just two years ago. And the company expects demand to continue to grow.
Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird, stressed they saw “unprecedented interest” in the electric-powered buses. He added that “about 50 per cent of Blue Bird’s bus sales today are non-diesel, twice the industry average.”
And the market is substantial. There are more than 600,000 school buses in use today in the United States and Canada, and 95 per cent still run on diesel and have an average age of about eleven years, according to Blue Bird.
Over in Russia, one of the country’s largest producers of heavy-duty machinery, Kamaz, also plans to expand on their electric bus business. The firm’s General Director Sergey Kogogin announced the plans to double production capacity in an interview on the sidelines of the ‘100% Tatarstan’ conference.
He said: “Who would have thought that the electric bus I’m talking about would become a serial product in a short time. We are not small producers today, this year we will produce more than 200 units, next year our plans are to double the production volume.”
The executive seemed to sound surprised. At the same time, Kamaz is on schedule. The company began building a production plant for electric buses and their components in Moscow last summer. A corresponding agreement with Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at the time that Kamaz would make at least 500 electric buses per year in the Russian capital in future.
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