Blue Bird Corp. and Accelera by Cummins, the zero-emissions business segment of Cummins Inc., recently premiered the next-generation Vision electric school bus at STN Expo West in Reno, Nevada, a student transportation industry and technology event in North America.
The next-generation electric school bus features the Accelera PowerDrive 7000, the newest version of its electric powertrain system, the company says.
The upgraded system provides superior performance and is equipped with a next-gen battery that has a capacity of 196 kilowatt-hours – a 25% increase from the previous model. With this updated battery technology, these electric school buses can now travel up to 130 miles on a single charge, according to Accelera.
“Accelera’s partnership with Blue Bird is in its fifth year, and together we are defining a new era of excellence in technology innovation and service support,” said Brian Wilson, general manager of electrified components at Accelera. “Continuous improvement is in our DNA and we are driven to provide safe, efficient and sustainable electric school buses across North America by offering tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of our customers while raising the bar on expectations for BEVs.”
Accelera and Blue Bird have enhanced their assembly process for this new generation of electric school buses, resulting in better build quality and quicker lead times, the companies say. Their goal of deploying a fleet of 1,000 electric school buses in North America within 12 to 18 months remains on track.
They add the partnership between Accelera and Blue Bird already has resulted in successful school bus adoption in snowy Colorado and sunny California, where school districts have taken advantage of funding opportunities to electrify their fleets for quieter, cleaner and more comfortable rides.
“Over the past century, Blue Bird has emerged as an iconic company at the forefront of technology advancement and innovation in the school bus industry,” said Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corp., which operates nearly 1,000 electric school buses in North America today. “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. Blue Bird is ever evolving.”