This week, Colorado’s Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) welcomes an all-electric Blue Bird Vision model to its school bus fleet.
According to a statement from the district, “The Blue Bird Vision model is a clean, efficient, and more environmentally sustainable version of a conventionally-fueled 71-passenger yellow bus. While the new bus will showcase electric-powered transportation, it also will be a workhorse of the fleet with a travel range of 120 miles powered by a 160 kWh battery package to transport students regularly.
“We are thrilled about the arrival of the electric bus and look forward to putting it through the paces as a showcase of cleaner, cheaper, and healthier student transportation,” said Landon Hilliard, BVSD Alternative Transportation Coordinator.
BVSD is leading the way as the first school district in Colorado to add an electric bus to its fleet. Transportation is now the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado and one of the two leading sources of harmful ozone pollution. With zero-tailpipe emissions, the bus contributes to meeting the climate and clean air goals of BVSD’s Sustainability Management System and has been on the school district’s wish list for a while. The new Boulder Transportation Center, which was constructed through the 2014 Bond program and opened in 2019, was pre-equipped with the capacity to charge passenger vehicles and electric school buses.
The bus is the latest example of BVSD’s commitment to sustainable transportation, in particular electric vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the power of partnerships. Through the district’s 2014 Bond program and support from the Regional Air Quality Council, 55 vehicle charging stations with two ports each have been installed at 50 locations across the district. BVSD also has three plug-in passenger electric vehicles that are used by staff to travel between schools. Two of these were purchased with financial assistance of the Regional Air Quality Council, the Colorado Energy Office, and the City of Boulder.
The purchase is made possible with federal funds through the ALT Fuels Colorado program of the Regional Air Quality Council. Per the grant agreement, the Blue Bird Vision Electric replaces a 30-year old diesel bus that was scrapped last year at a Denver metal recycler.
Working toward a shared community goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, the district joins other local public entities, including the City of Boulder, Via Mobility, and University of Colorado Boulder that are putting zero-emission transit vehicles on the streets in the coming weeks and months.
The bus will have a two-week acceptance period at the BVSD Transportation Center for final preparations and staff training after which it will be scheduled for a regular rotation of routes.
Learn more about what BVSD is doing to expand sustainable transportation in the district and reduce our impact on climate in our Sustainability Management System which will be updated this year.”