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US school bus maker Blue Bird receives its largest-ever order of electric school buses

Macon, Georgia-based bus maker Blue Bird Corporation (Nasdaq: BLBD) has received the single largest order of electric school buses from a school district in its history.

California’s Modesto City Schools ordered 30 Blue Bird All American Type D electric school buses to convert nearly half of its diesel-powered fleet to electric. The school district expects to save more than $250,000 a year in fuel costs alone.

Modesto City Schools purchased Blue Bird All American Type D electric school buses. The district anticipates delivery of the new buses in the fourth quarter of 2022. Blue Bird electric buses can carry a maximum of 84 passengers for a range of up to 120 miles on a single charge – they take between three and eight hours to fully recharge depending on the charging infrastructure.

The Type D uses a 155 kWh battery pack and a Cummins PowerDrive 7000 propulsion system.

Blue Bird, an iconic American company that was founded in 1932 and became a publicly owned company in 2015, reports that some of its customers have reported fuel costs of up to 49 cents per mile for their diesel buses, compared to an average 14 cents per mile in energy costs for electric buses.

Blue Bird’s electric school buses were partially funded by California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).

According to A-Z Bus Sales, the only approved Blue Bird dealer in California, the Type D retail price is around $400,000, and the HVIP incentive amount for Blue Bird Type Ds is between $140,250 and $375,000. Compare that to a new diesel school bus, which, according to the A-Z Bus Sales representative, costs around $200,000-220,000.

Tim Zearley, associate superintendent of business services for Modesto City Schools, said:

The price of diesel fuel continues to skyrocket. Our sustainability projects are designed to address climate change, reduce air pollution, and lead the next generation of students in learning about a sustainable lifestyle with renewable energy, carbon reduction, and clean mobility options.

Read more: New all-electric school buses unveiled by Blue Bird with Vehicle-to-Grid feature

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Photo: Blue Bird

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.