This spring, long-time school bus builder Blue Bird will begin production of its propane and gasoline Vision school buses integrating the all-new Ford 7.3L Godzilla V8 engine and a purpose-built fuel system designed specifically for school bus applications. 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 the Ford 6.8L Triton engine.
The 2022 Blue Bird Vision with the propane and gasoline Ford 7.3L Godzilla V8 engine features a 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.”
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. The buses also feature a new front grille design.
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.
“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.