Blue Bird begins production of propane buses with new engine

July 19, 2021 By    

Blue Bird began production of its 2022 Blue Bird Vision propane and gasoline school buses, integrating Ford’s 7.3-liter V-8 engine and a fuel system designed specifically for school buses.

Photo: ROUSH CleanTech

The 7.3-liter V-8 engine. Photo: Roush CleanTech

The fuel system technology, known as Gen 5, was developed by Roush CleanTech. Roush has manufactured more than 30,000 propane and gasoline fuel systems for Blue Bird buses equipped with Ford’s 6.8-liter 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,” says Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “We’ve already heard excitement from our customers about this compact, more powerful and easier-to-maintain engine with better fuel economy.”

The compact and lighter-weight 7.3-liter engine should achieve improved fuel economy over the 6.8-liter engine, according to Blue Bird. The 7.3-liter engine is also narrower than the previous 6.8-liter, allowing more room for service work.

In addition to the new engine, the new propane and gasoline Vision buses incorporate newly engineered routing of the wiring and fuel lines, centered between the frame rails for improved quality, simplicity of maintenance and product longevity. The model also features a newly designed grille.

Innovations for Roush’s Gen 5 fuel system include stronger and lighter forged fuel rails and unique routing that keeps the engine-fuel distribution organized, according to Roush.

“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,” says 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. The Gen 5 system reduces nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gas emissions, and can operate on renewable propane, which further reduces emissions and carbon levels. The engine is designed to meet current and future emissions requirements.

Orders are now being taken for Blue Bird’s Vision school buses with Gen 5 fuel systems.

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