Blue Bird Vision

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Blue Bird Vision
Blue Bird Vision
Years of manufacture 2003 to present
Length 24'1" to 41'7"
Width 96 inches
Power/Fuel Diesel, CNG,
gasoline,
LPG, electric
The Blue Bird Vision logo.

The Blue Bird Vision is a high floor type-C school bus and successor to the Blue Bird CV200. The Vision was launched in 2003 and uses Blue Bird's first dedicated type-C school bus chassis.

Design

The Vision boasts optimal safety particularly in the area of driver visibility. This is achieved with a sloping hood and the Safety View™ Vision Panel which is a window with a wide-angled lens under the windscreen at the door side. The body uses 14-guage steel posts and one-piece roof bows. Exterior side sheet metal is 20 gauge galvanized steel with fluting, and roofing is one piece steel between window sections.

The Vision was launched as a diesel-power bus. The Caterpillar C7 engine was standard with the Cummins ISB engine becoming an option later. The first alternative fuel option was propane, launched at the 2006 National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Conference and Trade Show in Kansas City, Missouri. The propane-powered vision used CleanFUEL USA’s Liquid Propane Injection System (LPI) with the the General Motors 8.1L Vortec engine.[1]

Also at the 2006 NAPT show, Blue Bird introduced their 2008-model Vision. The hood received a more sleek, smooth design with a larger grill. Inside, the 2008-model Vision received a new instrument panel and new steering column w/ E-Z adjust peddle. An electric-operated service door joined the options for a manual or air-powered service door.

Blue Bird announced the next generation propane powered Vision in July 2011. It boasts more power and a larger fuel tank. The fuel system is supplied by ROUSH CleanTech and the engine is supplied by Ford. In addition, the Ford TorqShift transmission is used.

At the 2013 School Transportation News Expo, Blue Bird itroduced enhancements for the 2015-model Vision. The headlights and turn signals are now behind a single, clear lens; improving visibility and serviceability. LED clearance lights became standard. An improved seatbelt system and mirror setup were also included. For propane-powered Vision buses, an option for a 98 gallon fuel take became available.[2]

Blue Bird introduced Bendix electronic stability control on their Vision and All American at the end of 2014. The anti-lock brake system-based stability technology uses a series of sensors that measure driver intent and vehicle direction to improve driving through automatic interventions such as de-throttling the engine or applying the brakes.[3] Electronic stability control was made standard in 2019.

Blue Bird launched their gasoline-powered Vision, using a Ford drivetrain, at the 2015 School Transportation News Expo in Reno, Nevada.[4] Building further on the ROUSH CleanTech-Ford partnership, Blue Bird introduced a natural gas-powered Vision in 2016.[5]

At the end of 2016, Blue Bird received a $4.4 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop an electric-powered school bus with full Vehicle to Grid (V2G) functionality. At the 2017 National Association for Pupil Transportation Trade Show, Blue Bird unveiled a battery-electric-powered version of their Vision. The electric powertrain is supplied by ADOMANI, with drivetrain and vehicle control software developed and produced by Efficient Drivetrains (owned by Cummins as of 2018). The bus can travel up to 100 to 120 miles on a full charge. The 150 kWh batteries can be recharged in under eight hours by utilizing a SAE J1772 Type 2 charger.[6]

Blue Bird unveiled their 2022-model Vision in January 2021. For propane and gasoline powered buses, the new Ford 7.3 litre V8 is used. The propane Vision uses ROUSH CleanTech’s improved Gen 5 fuel system. In addition, the propane and gasoline Vision feature a new routing of the wiring and fuel lines. They are now centered between the frame rails. The 2022 Vision sports a new grill with different openings and dynamic look.[7]

Specifications

Demonstrator/engineering units

Fleet number Thumbnail Year VIN Engine Transmission Notes
June 2011 1BAKGC5H6BF281638 Ford Triton V10 6.8L propane Ford TorqShift automatic
  • 2012 model.
  • Propane.
  • Altoona test bus from June 11, 2013 to July 17, 2013.
May 2015 1BAKGCBA4GF319060 Ford Triton V10 6.8L gasoline Ford TorqShift automatic
  • 2016 model.
  • Altoona test bus from March 6, 2017 to May 18, 2017.

Operators

Blue Bird Vision buses are used by thousands of school districts across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to these private operators:

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References

  • Blue Bird Corporation Unveils Propane Powered School Bus. 01 December 2006. Press release. Blue Bird Corporation.
  • Blue Bird Unveils 2015 Model Year Product Enhancement at the School Transportation News Expo. 23 July 2013. Blue Bird.
  • [1]
  • Blue Bird Unveils New Gasoline-Powered Type C Vision School Bus. 28 July 2015. Press release. Blue Bird Corporation.
  • Blue Bird reveals 3 new powertrains for 2016. 11 November 2015. School Bus Fleet.
  • Blue Bird Unveils All-New, Electric-Powered Type C School Bus at NAPT Conference. Press release. 07 November 2017.
  • "Blue Bird to Begin Production of Updated Propane and Gasoline Buses with All-New and Exclusive Ford 7.3L V8 Engine." Press release. Blue Bird, 19 January 2021.