Blue Bird to produce 5,000 electric school buses a year
US manufacturer Blue Bird is expanding its production capacity for electric school buses. The ‘Electric Vehicle Build-up Center’, now open on site of the company’s primary US production facility in Georgia, will enable the company to increase its capacity to 5,000 electric school buses annually.
Blue Bird considers the new centre’s opening an important milestone as the company continues to expand its electric school bus production from 4 to 20 vehicles a day. The new facility will feature a dedicated assembly line for electric school buses. Blue Bird also mentions technicians trained for battery assembly and EV conversions. The latter is reportedly offered in cooperation with Lightning eMotors.
Currently, just under 1,000 Blue Bird electric school buses are in use. By increasing its production capacity in Fort Valley, the company is responding to the sharp rise in demand, driven primarily by the US government’s five-billion-dollar incentive programme. The Clean School Bus Scheme is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides said $5 bn to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses.
“Based on the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law alone, we anticipate thousands of additional electric school bus orders valued at an estimated $1 billion over five years,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “Our new EV Build-up Center reflects Blue Bird’s steadfast commitment to school districts across the US and Canada to meet increasing demand and deliver clean, safe, and reliable student transportation when they need it.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports these projections, which anticipates that 30 per cent of all model year 2027 school buses will be electric-powered. This figure is projected to increase to 45 per cent for model year 2032 school buses.
Blue Bird school buses can carry between 77 and 84 students for up to 120 miles on a single charge.
The EV Build-up Center includes InCharge Energy ICE-30 chargers and mobile carts to charge electric school buses before customer delivery. Based on the charging infrastructure, newly-assembled buses will take four hours to charge fully, so the company.
Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) claims 170,000 school buses made in America are on the road today.