Blue Bird unveils next-gen electric school bus
Electric school bus maker Blue Bird has unveiled its next-generation Vision electric school. It has more range and more room for passengers.
With a capacity of 196 kWh, the battery has about 25 per cent more capacity than the current generation. That way, the electric school bus can go up to 130 miles (209 kilometres) on one charge. Moreover, the bus can fast charge with up to 80 kW, meaning it can be charged fully in three hours. Since most school buses only run in the morning and the afternoon, there is sufficient time to plug them in.
The next-generation Vision also has room for more passengers – it now has 77 seats, compared to 72 previously. And due to more efficient and lighter batteries, the vehicle now weighs about 1,000 pounds (approximately 450 kilos) less. For colder climates, the school bus has an “optional fuel-fired heating system,” said to generate 20 per cent more cabin heat. The battery is also internally insulated to limit the system’s heat loss.
“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”, says Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corporation.
The powertrain remains the same as in the previous version and comes from Accelera by Cummins. The buses will be manufactured at Blue Bird’s facility in Fort Valley, Georgia. The company recently opened its ‘Electric Vehicle Build-up Center’ there, enabling it to increase production capacity to 5,000 electric school buses per 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.”