Bus manufacturing firm Blue Bird has secured a deal to supply Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) in Florida with 60 of its most advanced Vision electric school buses.
Broward County is the sixth largest school district in the nation and second largest in Florida, behind Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
The order comes as the school district looks to replace part of its diesel fleet with zero-emission vehicles through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Electric School Bus Project. The deal marks the largest electric school bus fleet purchase in Blue Bird’s history, the company says.
“Zero-emission transportation means cleaner air to breathe,” said Matthew Stevenson, President and CEO of Blue Bird. “We have served Broward Schools for more than 30 years. We could not be more pleased to help the school district transition to electric buses and clean student transportation.”
BCPS has ordered the buses through Blue Bird’s authorized school bus dealer Florida Transportation Systems in Tampa, Florida. Each Vision electric school bus can transport up to 72 students for up to 120 miles on a single charge. The charging time of the bus varies between three and eight hours, depending on the infrastructure, the Fort Valley, Georgia-based company notes.
Blue Bird’s electric buses come equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability, allowing BCPS to manage vehicle charging and return stored energy back to the grid as needed. V2G programs help improve grid resiliency, balance demands on the grid and lower the overall cost of electric school bus fleets for school districts.
The school district received a grant of almost $15 million from the Florida Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program, which uses funds from the Volkswagen Settlement and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to mitigate diesel emissions from mobile sources. Additionally, Florida Power & Light Company is providing the charging infrastructure.
BCPS operates over 1,200 vehicles with various propulsion systems, including 515 Blue Bird buses, which travel over 67,000 miles each school day, transporting 54,000 students to and from schools.
“Broward County Public Schools is excited to be the first school district in South Florida to pilot the use of electric buses in lowering emissions from our bus fleet,” said BCPS Superintendent Earlean Smiley. “This project has been in development for several years, and we’re thankful to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Power & Light for providing the essential funding and infrastructure to make it possible.”