Blue Bird starts production of updated buses with exclusive Ford 7.3L V8 engine

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.”

Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine

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.