The 300th fully-electric Blue Bird school bus is slated for delivery soon on the Northeast Coast of the United States, a strong indication of the geographic breadth of interest in EV school buses. This is a cooler climate compared with the typical areas of EV deployment, such as California.

In September the company announced it has registered a +250% in sales of e-buses in 2020, and unveiled a strategy to increase production capacity up to 1,000 units annually. Today, nearly 50 percent of Blue Bird’s bus sales are non-diesel powered.

The reason of such a trend in the North American school bus market? «With more than 600,000 school buses on the road today in the US and Canada, and 95 percent of them diesel with an average age of about 11 years, the addressable market of America’s largest mass-transportation system represents a substantial $150 billion opportunity for electric buses over the next 20 years or so», said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. The electric school bus market in the US is the target of the cooperation between Daimler and Proterra, launched a couple of years ago.

Blue Bird, first EV school bus manufacturer in the US

“When it comes to cooler weather, the operation of the bus is generally unaffected,” said Trevor Rudderham, senior vice president of electrification for Blue Bird. “What can be affected, however, is the charging of the batteries. Our new upgrades will make charging more efficient with improved battery insulation and our standard CCS1 connector, which allows for both AC and DC fast charging.”

“Blue Bird is honored to have received its 300th electric bus order, confirming our position as the #1 EV school bus manufacturer in the United States. Based on the interest level in Blue Bird electric buses from school districts, we expect the sales pace to increase in the future,” said David Bercik, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “While the pandemic has impacted the industry, the Blue Bird team is focused on maintaining our delivery commitments to each and every customer.”

27,000 EV school buses to be built in 10 years

«On average 480,000 yellow buses carry upwards of 25 million children to school on a daily basis in the US. With only 1% of these buses currently running on electrified powertrains, that means a lot of gas-guzzling diesel engines polluting the air. President Elect Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan for creating a more resilient, sustainable economy proposes making all American-made buses zero-emission by 2030, starting with the school bus fleet, which would convert within 5 years». It’s the opening of a lately released report from consulting firm Interact Analysis, entitled: «Decarbonising The US’s Yellow School Bus Fleet: A Policy Worth Pursuing?». The forecast? 27,000 units to be built in ten years. A paper that is worth reading!


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