Students will ride on quieter and cleaner-running buses this year that will save the district at least $50,000 in fuel costs. The city school district has replaced its fleet with 80 propane-fueled school buses, which will begin picking up students when classes start on Sept. 5, according to a release.
On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Sierra Foothill Charter School took possession of a brand new, propane-powered 75 passenger school bus. After the bus is certified by the CHP and the school’s bus driver is trained, the new, clean energy bus will replace the 54-passenger diesel bus the school has been leasing from Merced Transportation since December 2012.
One of my favorite short reads is “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson. It deals with positively coping with change. The story centers around four characters who must adjust and adapt to the challenges they are faced with and move on to find happiness.
The ROUSH CleanTech 6.8-liter V-10, 3-V engine, equipped in Blue Bird Vision Propane buses, has the lowest NOx levels of any propane autogas engine in Class 4-7 vehicles. The engine is certified below the optional low NOx standard of 0.05 g/bhp-hr set by CARB. In terms of NOx emitted, for every one bus at the 0.2 NOx standard, there can be four buses on the road at the .05 level.
Did you attend our webinar, Leveraging .05g NOx Certification & Volkswagen Status Update? It provided an update on the Volkswagen settlement and how it affects you, the dealer. A new tool was introduced that shows the cost effectiveness of propane in terms of NOx emissions. This tool can help with your beneficiary outreach to make the case for propane school buses even stronger.
Last month, we celebrated Blue Bird’s 10,000th propane bus! We joined Fulton County Schools, the recipient of that bus, to host a press conference to get the news out. But this was no ordinary press conference. The school district already had a back-to-school event planned, and we needed to integrate the propane bus messaging — and gain media coverage.
In related Class 7 news, truck body builder Mickey Truck Bodies and alternative fuel system provider Roush CleanTech developed a propane-powered 2017 Ford F-750 side-load beverage truck with electric doors. It will debut at the BevOps Fleet Summit Sept. 19-22 in Phoenix. The propane-powered 6.8-liter engine emits less than 0.05 gram of nitrogen oxides per brake horsepower-hour, the companies said in a joint statement.
Dealer Spotlight: Central States Bus Sales
Interviewee: Jeff Reitz
Title: President and CEO
Q. How do you introduce propane-fueled buses to prospective customers?
A. At the first meeting, we gauge the customer’s interest in alternative fuels. Some of our customers have done all their research and are way ahead of the game. They are open to options and we bring up propane to see if there is a fit. Other customers are not as interested in alternative fuel options. But, we do bring it up to see if they are open to it and go from there. Our goal is to make the discussion, and ultimately the purchase, as easy as possible for our customers.
Q. Have you seen a lot of interest in gasoline and / or propane?
A. We talk both propane and gasoline with our customers to see what fits their comfort level. We have seen a lot of interest in gasoline-fueled buses, especially among school districts with smaller fleets. It’s not as risky in their minds and from their board’s standpoint.
With propane, most everyone is interested in the quick heating and cold start benefits, which gives us an opportunity to review other benefits, too.
Q. Who do you meet with when trying to sell a district on propane?
A. We will meet with anyone and everyone throughout the district! We’ve spoken to school boards, transportation directors and technicians. Whatever it takes. The key is to have a demo propane or gasoline bus there to let them drive it, see it and be comfortable with it.
Q. What convinced you to sell alt fuels?
A. We started with a couple small customers on the propane side and took the time to do testing. Once we were comfortable with the data we collected and the performance of the buses, we were ready to sell propane buses on a larger scale. Our data collection also helps us calculate the total cost of ownership for customers. We can outline their total costs to adopt propane so they can budget.
Q. What advice would you give to other dealers to increase alt fuel sales?
A. It comes down to believing in the product yourself. When you believe in it, your customers will, too. If you’re not personally sold, I’d suggest you learn the benefits and how it can help your customers. Find the solution that is worthwhile for them, whether it’s propane or gasoline.
With many of its customers in remote areas, Canyon State Bus Sales takes propane bus training to them. Training coordinator Nate Hawbaker says the dealer provides needed propane support to keep customers happy and buses operational. Read more about how your dealership can offer the same type of training to ensure customer success.
Students in the East Stroudsburg School District will be riding on new eco-friendly school buses this year. The district recently converted nearly half of its fleet to propane and there are plans to roll out more in the coming years.