Blue Bird Corporation, the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, debuted its latest innovations at the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NAPT) Annual Summit in Richmond, VA.
“Along with the gasoline-powered Blue Bird Vision that we announced earlier this year, Blue Bird’s four all-new powertrains in 2016 demonstrate our commitment to new products that customers want and value,” says Blue Bird President & CEO Phil Horlock. “This represents an unprecedented pace of new product launches and is an exciting time for Blue Bird and our customers.”
CNG-Powered Blue Bird Vision
Blue Bird will begin production of its first Type C Vision bus fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) in 2016. With its excellent performance and quiet operation, the Blue Bird Vision CNG will reduce fuel and maintenance costs, while meeting stringent emissions standards. The CNG-powered school buses will utilize Blue Bird’s exclusive and established partnership with Ford and ROUSH CleanTech, deploying Ford’s 6.8L V10 engine and 6R140 transmission with ROUSH CleanTech’s fuel system. Propane-powered school buses built by this proven Blue Bird, Ford and ROUSH CleanTech partnership have tallied more than 60 million miles. With the same engine and transmission architecture covering propane, gasoline and CNG-powered school buses, Blue Bird’s customers and technicians are assured of simpler and easier maintenance and service. The new Type C CNG-powered model joins the Type D CNG bus currently offered by Blue Bird, and will be available for delivery in late 2016.
ISV Diesel-Powered Blue Bird Vision
An all-new, modern, quiet and fuel-efficient Cummins ISV 5.0L V8 diesel is now being made available in the Blue Bird Vision Type C school bus. Blue Bird will be the only school bus manufacturer to offer this engine when launched in the summer of 2016, providing customers with the lowest acquisition price of all Blue Bird diesel models. With its excellent performance, the ISV engine will establish a new standard for being the quietest diesel engine on the road, and its compact size will make service accessibility simple.
Eaton Procision Transmission
As the first dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic transmission available for Class 6 to 7 vehicles in North America, the Eaton Procision ensures driver confidence by efficiently accelerating and optimizing shift points to reach the highest gear as early as possible. The advanced dual-clutch module is fully contained within the transmission, and is hydraulically controlled and oil cooled for extended life. Electronic shifting provides optimal fuel efficiency and smooth, continuous delivery of torque to a vehicle’s wheels. The transmission will offer the driver a number of new and innovative features that simplify the shifting operation. The Eaton Procision transmission will be an option on Blue Bird ISB Diesel models and will be available for delivery in the summer of 2016.
“Our customers want and value reliable, affordable and safe bus options that reduce their operating costs,” says Blue Bird Chief Operating Officer John Kwapis. “Our innovative Blue Bird Vision CNG, Blue Bird Vision ISV and ISB Diesels and Eaton Procision Transmission will provide a strong return on investment and more choices for our customers.”