School district adds first all-electric school bus with state grant assistance
WEST FARGO, N.D. (June 3, 2019) — West Fargo Public Schools received the state’s first zero emissions electric bus, a Blue Bird Vision equipped with the Cummins PowerDrive system, enabling students to ride in an all-electric powered bus when they return to school in August.
"We're estimating that we will save approximately 70 percent in energy costs and 70 to 80 percent in maintenance costs," said Brad Redmond, West Fargo Public Schools' transportation director. "By reducing costs and the impact on air quality, our Blue Bird electric bus benefits our community greatly."
The school district purchased the bus with assistance from the North Dakota Department of Commerce through the state’s energy program. The Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and Cass County Electric — in conjunction with Minnkota Power Cooperative — also provided funding.
"We are grateful that, with the financial assistance from our partnering agencies, we have been able to purchase our first all-electric school bus," said Patti Stedman, president of the board for West Fargo Public Schools. "This bus will serve as a pilot that will help the district determine if we can migrate to a low-emissions fleet in the future. This investment is a great benefit to not only the district and our students, but also to the community as a whole."
The Blue Bird electric school bus is 100 percent electric, emitting zero emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons; even heating the bus is done electrically.
"We congratulate West Fargo Public Schools on being first in its state to operate an electric bus," said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Bird Bird Corporation. "The electric school bus market is growing rapidly, as electricity is a clean, efficient transportation power source that supports our customers' environmental goals."
The bus, which can travel up to 120 miles between charges, will recharge at the district's on-site charging station. It is designed to operate in a variety of environments, and offers comparable vehicle performance to a bus with a traditional internal combustion engine, yet requires no oil changes, fuel or air filters, transmission service or additional fluids. The bus can operate in temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees.
"Cummins has a long history of powering the big yellow bus and the fully-electric Cummins PowerDrive system in the Blue Bird Vision Electric bus carries forward the same quality and reliability that customers have come to expect," said Julie Furber, vice president of electrified power for Cummins, which manufactures the powertrain. "Plus, school districts benefit from reduced maintenance and the associated costs while providing sustainable transport for students."
The school district operates 54 buses in its fleet. If provided additional grant money, the school district plans to add more electric vehicles.
This bus will be widely seen at promotional events this summer throughout the state, and then assigned a daily route for the 2019-2020 school year.
About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered, electric and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio.
About West Fargo Public Schools: West Fargo Public Schools prepares all learners with the knowledge and skills to be compassionate, contributing citizens in a rapidly changing world. Located in North Dakota, the school district is dedicated to continuous improvement, engaging every student to become problem solvers and lifelong learners. West Fargo Public Schools is the fastest-growing district in North Dakota, averaging 500 new students annually. The district is on track to be the state’s second largest district in the next two years. Visit www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us.