Blue Bird Corporation has unveiled a new Class 5-6 electric vehicle platform. The company says it built on its knowledge in school bus manufacturing to expand its zero-emission transportation solutions to the commercial vehicle market. Blue Bird’s flexible Class 5-6 chassis will enable a broad range of fully-electric vehicles, including last-mile delivery step vans, motorhomes, and other specialty vehicles, the company says.
Due to its modular design, the Blue Bird electric vehicle chassis allows for several battery configurations from 70kWh to 225kWh supporting a vehicle range of up to 175 miles on a single charge, the company says. The battery packs take between one and twelve hours to fully recharge depending on the charging infrastructure.
In addition, Blue Bird offers its Class 5-6 chassis with three wheelbase options of 178-, 190-, and 208-inches for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 26,000 lbs. The company says it utilizes lightweight materials and components for its vehicle platform.
Blue Bird offers several safety features on its EV chassis not standard on comparable electric vehicles to enhance driver protection and familiarity. This includes “hill hold,” which prevents the vehicle from rolling backward when sitting stationary on a hill, and “electric creep,” which allows the vehicle to slowly start moving from a stop when the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal to simulate a gasoline engine in gear. In addition, the Blue Bird custom chassis provides the best turn radius to date maximizing vehicle maneuverability in tight urban settings, the company says.
Blue Bird teamed up with Lightning eMotors to build the prototype of the Class 5-6 custom chassis.
Blue Bird says it is the only U.S.-owned and operated school bus manufacturer in the United States. The company plans to launch production of its Class 5-6 EV chassis in late 2023 at its manufacturing facility in Fort Valley, Ga.