Blue Bird to Begin Production of Updated Propane and Gasoline Buses with All-New and Exclusive Ford 7.3L V8 Engine
Innovative technology integrates an advanced fuel system with new engine, improved and simplified wiring and fuel line routing, and an updated look for school
FORT VALLEY, GA. (Jan. 19, 2021) — This spring, Blue Bird will begin production of its propane and gasoline Vision school buses integrating Ford’s all-new 7.3L V8 engine and a purpose-built fuel system designed specifically for school-bus application. The advanced fuel system technology was developed by ROUSH CleanTech, the same company that has manufactured over 30,000 propane and gasoline fuel systems for Blue Bird buses equipped with Ford’s 6.8L engine. The 2022 Blue Bird Vision with the propane and gasoline 7.3L engine features best-in-class combination of horsepower and torque. In addition, the compact and lighter-weight 7.3L engine should achieve improved fuel economy over the 6.8L engine.
“The exclusive partnership between Blue Bird, ROUSH CleanTech and Ford continues to flourish as we launch Ford’s new engine with cutting-edge fuel systems in our Vision and Micro Bird school buses,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “We’ve already heard excitement from our customers about this compact, more powerful and easier-to-maintain engine with better fuel economy.”
In addition to the all-new engine, the new propane and gasoline Vision incorporate newly engineered routing of the wiring and fuel lines, centered between the frame rails for improved quality, simplicity of maintenance and product longevity. A newly designed grille also brings a fresh face to a familiar brand.
Ford’s new 350-horsepower 7.3L engine is narrower than the previous 6.8L, allowing more room for service work. Innovations for the fuel system, known as Gen 5, include stronger and lighter forged fuel rails and unique routing that keeps the engine-fuel distribution well organized. The system benefits from all of Ford’s performance and quality characteristics, such as horsepower, torque and towing, while maintaining the outstanding OEM factory warranty.
“Backed by 45 years of Roush engineering, the Gen 5 is the next advancement in powertrain technology, delivering lots of power in a smaller package,” said Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “Our advanced fuel system integrates seamlessly with the new Ford engine to give school bus customers the most cost-effective product on the market.”
ROUSH CleanTech’s Gen 5 propane engine is certified to California Air Resources Board’s optional low nitrogen oxide emissions standard of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhp-hr). The Gen 5 system reduces nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gas emissions, which helps optimize fuel efficiency, and can operate on renewable propane, which further reduces emissions and carbon levels. The engine is designed to meet current and future emissions requirements.
“As the undisputed market leader in this segment, The Best Just Got Better!” added Horlock.
Orders are now being taken for Blue Bird’s Vision school buses with Gen 5 fuel systems.
About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered, electric and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.
About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of advanced clean transportation solutions, is a division of the global engineering company Roush Enterprises. ROUSH CleanTech develops propane autogas and electric propulsion technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles and school buses. With more than 37,000 vehicles on the road, the Livonia, Michigan-based company delivers economical, emissions-reducing options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.