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Blue Bird to produce updated propane school buses

February 2, 2021 By    
Photo: ROUSH CleanTech

Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech

Blue Bird will begin production of its propane and gasoline Vision school buses in spring 2021, integrating Ford’s new 7.3-liter V-8 engine and a fuel system designed specifically for school buses, the company says.

The fuel system technology was developed by Roush CleanTech, which has manufactured more than 30,000 propane and gasoline fuel systems for Blue Bird buses equipped with Ford’s 6.8-liter engine, according to Blue Bird.

The compact, lighter-weight 7.3-liter engine should achieve improved fuel economy over the 6.8-liter engine, Blue Bird says.

In addition to the new engine, the buses incorporate a newly engineered grille, as well as newly designed wiring and fuel line routing, centered between the frame rails designed to achieve improved quality, simplicity of maintenance and product longevity, according to the company.

Ford’s new 350-hp, 7.3-liter engine is narrower than the previous 6.8-liter, allowing more room for service work, Blue Bird says. Innovations for Roush CleanTech’s fuel system, known as Gen 5, include stronger and lighter forged fuel rails and routing that keep the engine-fuel distribution well organized, according to Blue Bird.

The Gen 5 propane engine is certified to California Air Resources Board’s optional low nitrogen oxide emissions standard of 0.05 grams per brake hp-hour. The Gen 5 system is designed to reduce nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gas emissions and can operate on renewable propane, which further reduces emissions and carbon levels, says Blue Bird.

“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. “We’ve already heard excitement from our customers about this compact, more powerful and easier-to-maintain engine with better fuel economy.”

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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