The Henry County Board of Education voted at its Dec. 9 regular business meeting to approve the purchase of six buses from Yancy Bus Sales and Service at a total cost of $615,000. All of the buses are 2021 propane-powered Blue Bird vehicles with air conditioning and seating capacity of 72.
Congress passed H.R. 1865, which will provide the propane industry with prospective tax certainty as well as valuable research and development funding, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) announced. NPGA President and CEO Stephen Kaminski says the year-end legislation supports small businesses and energy consumers across the country.
Ryan Zic examines the claim that diesel is comparable — or even cleaner — than other fuels types. Zic says that school bus operators have options when it comes to clean fuel. With modern emission technology, diesel has come a long way toward tailpipe improvement and has made major strides in reducing harmful outputs. However, upon further investigation, he notes that even with the cutting edge of diesel emission technology, there are challenges both environmentally and operationally.
Eastern Michigan University held it’s fall 2019 commencement ceremony on Dec. 15, 2019. In total, approximately 2,300 students were eligible to walk, including 1,153 undergraduates and 368 graduate students. Around 800 summer graduates were also eligible to participate in the ceremony.
Our Propane Buses Outperform the Competition
A few months ago, we shared a gasoline school bus comparison done by ROUSH CleanTech’s Ryan Zic and a Blue Bird dealer comparing two gasoline buses: a Blue Bird Vision and an IC Bus CE. We received such good feedback that we’ve completed a comparison test of the Blue Bird Vision and the IC Bus/PSI propane models.
We used the same benchmarks to compare these propane school buses. Though, we didn’t get fuel economy numbers, we did get performance numbers. Both buses were driven on the same route with the same driver. The buses were judged based on multiple standards, including vehicle specs, acceleration, grade performance and sound performance. This is not an official third-party study. Zic and the dealer used their combined bus knowledge along with basic economic tools to determine the results.
In our informal test, we found that the Blue Bird / ROUSH CleanTech propane school bus:
- Outperforms on all 0 – 30 mph tests from flat to 11 percent grade.
- Sustains a 10 mph higher speed on 6.5 percent grade over 2 miles.
- Performs better on 11 out of 13 acceleration tests.
And, the Blue Bird OTIS starting system eliminates hard starts experienced on the competitive product.
We encourage you to tell your customers to do their own research and due diligence on the propane products. You’ll find more details on these results in our one-pager entitled, “Propane Bus Comparison Test,” which is for dealer use only and is not intended as a marketing piece for end users.
Volkswagen Update: December 2019
To date, the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust has only awarded about $205 million. We’re looking forward to more dollars going towards propane buses in 2020.
These funds have deployed nearly 2,400 on-road vehicles and installed almost 700 pieces of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. School bus projects have received the highest amount of funding by vehicle type ($89 million) as well as deployments (1,600 buses). There are still plenty of opportunities to remove older, dirty diesel trucks and buses and replace them with a cleaner-burning technology, like propane autogas. Unfortunately, the bulk of the funding for school buses has gone toward more diesel buses!
In 2019, we saw nearly $26 million in publicly announced propane bus awards, with more announcements coming daily. We’re thankful for the leadership of you, our Blue Bird dealer partners, and our school district customers in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. They are in the process of successfully deploying over 400 new Blue Bird propane school buses.
There is still a tremendous amount of opportunity out there — and we can help you! Our government affairs team has worked with the state beneficiaries to develop funding programs that create competitive opportunities and encourage level playing fields for all alternative-fuel technologies.
Please contact Chelsea Jenkins at Chelsea.Jenkins@roush.com to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement (and other funding) opportunities in your state. Visit www.ROUSHcleantech.com/volkswagen-settlement or www.propane.com for more information.
Dealers: Cardinal Bus Sales and MacAllister Transportation
We recently hosted two groups here at ROUSH CleanTech. Overall, we welcomed three school districts with representatives interested in learning more about our propane school buses.
For the first group, Cardinal Bus Sales brought an existing customer and a potential one from two Ohio school districts to tour our facility in Livonia, Michigan. For the second group, MacAllister Transportation brought in a superintendent, CFO, COO and transportation director from a very influential school district in Indiana. It was great to have all levels of management from that school district present so we could explain to each of them why propane buses make sense for their district in ways that applied to their interest.
Tour Support Program
The Tour Support Program has become a highly effective sales tool. A facility tour at ROUSH CleanTech headquarters in Livonia, Michigan, is a great resource to educate both your customers and your employees. Depending on your goals, we can customize the tour’s content to focus on propane, compressed natural gas or gasoline school bus sales, technical service or general education.
We want to provide an equal opportunity for all dealers, regardless of your location, to visit our factory. To help cover the cost of this tour, we pay a portion of expenses based on where you’re coming from. Check out our recently updated reimbursement map to determine how much we will cover, per person, for visits from your state.
The typical tour itinerary includes:
- Afternoon arrival of dealer personnel and customers.
- Dinner hosted by ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird.
- Morning tour of the ROUSH CleanTech manufacturing facility, product overview and service presentations.
- Break for lunch provided by ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird.
- Demonstration of propane autogas fueling.
- Tour of ROUSH Performance and / or a tour of the Roush Automotive Collection museum, featuring Jack Roush’s personal collection of cars.
- Afternoon departure.
In order to qualify for the reimbursement program, the following criteria are required:
- Customer attendees must be current or prospective customers who plan to purchase in the next 12 months.
- Maximum group size is 30 people.
- Background information, including attendees’ names, titles, district and contact information, must be provided to ROUSH CleanTech in advance of the tour.
- At least one dealer representative must attend.
Whether you’ve taken this tour before with your team or a customer, or this is your first time, you’re sure to learn something new, and, more importantly, to close more sales.
Both Cardinal and MacAllister found the tours so effective to generate sales that they graciously elected not to be reimbursed.
Thanks for bringing the customers to us!
To schedule a tour through our Tour Support Program, call us at 800.59.ROUSH or contact your ROUSH CleanTech rep today.
Three Ways Media Coverage Helps Sales
Usually, we feature a new school bus adoption and the media coverage it gains. This month, we decided to give you tips on how to leverage all of the positive PR we get from these articles to help you with your sales efforts. Learn three ways media coverage helps sales.
- Adds credibility to our brand.
PR is a powerful way to enhance our credibility in the eyes of your prospects and customers. Plus, it gives the perspective of the school district, which peers value.
- Builds validation of propane school buses.
Have you ever been asked how our propane school buses stack up to the competition? One way is to show them with the coverage that our propane school buses receive. Read some of the headlines from this year in our online Newsroom, like this recent article about two Pennsylvania school districts.
- Provides evergreen content.
Once a news article is published online, it becomes nearly evergreen since it’s posted for an extended period of time. This makes it appealing when a potential client searches for “propane school bus” on the internet and clicks the News button. Try it yourself to see how many listed are about Blue Bird customers!
If you have any questions about how to leverage PR for your sales, contact your ROUSH CleanTech sales rep.
I recently read an article entitled, “The Peak Oil Plateau is Close.” The author predicts that higher oil prices will spur the adoption of electric vehicles and alternative energy in transportation.