Blue Bird School Buses Will Continue To Use Ford V8 Engines

As Ford Authority reported a few years ago, Blue Bird school buses – one of the largest producers of those particular types of vehicles – has expanded its available powertrain list considerably as of late, most recently adding propane and gasoline models powered by the Ford 7.3L Godzilla V8 engine and a purpose-built fuel system developed in conjunction with Roush CleanTech, which was preceded by the Ford 6.8L Triton engine. Thus far, these Ford-powered Blue Bird school buses have been rather successful, and as a result, they’ll continue to utilize Ford V8 engines moving forward, the company has announced.

Blue Bird recently announced that it has decided to extend its relationship with Ford and Roush CleanTech until 2030. Currently, it’s the only school bus manufacturer in the U.S. that offers propane- and gasoline-powered models that are already capable of meeting the more stringent emission standards set to take effect in 2027. Since the trio of companies began working together in 2012, Blue Bird has deployed more than 40,000 alternative-fuel powered school buses, and the current propane-powered options are a whopping 90 percent cleaner the most stringent federal emission standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can provide customers with fuel and maintenance savings of up to $3,700 per bus each year.

“We are thrilled to extend our winning, long-standing collaboration with technology leaders Ford Motor Company and Roush CleanTech,” said Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corporation. “We are the only school bus manufacturer in the United States to bring an industry-leading portfolio of propane- and gasoline-powered buses to communities nationwide – and are excited for the opportunity to continue doing so for years to come. School districts and contractors seeking clean and cost-effective student transportation continue to find reliable solutions in Blue Bird.”

“Our relationship with Blue Bird goes back nearly a century starting in 1927 when Blue Bird built its first school bus on a Ford chassis,” said Douglas Chase, director of OEM sales at Ford Component Sales. “We have continued to collaborate and innovate the student transportation industry ever since. We are delighted that Ford’s powerful 7.3L engine will be at the heart of Blue Bird’s next-generation, alternative-fuel powered school buses in North America.”

We’ll have more on Blue Bird’s relationship with Ford soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  • The 7.3L V8 is one of the engines that FORD actually gets right and obviously BLUEBIRD is happy with FORD to keep this engine as an option with this new long term deal. As some of you may know, CUMMINS is going to have a gasoline version of the 6.7L 6 at some point this year. Perhaps IC and THOMAS will use that one.

    • Thomasbuit Buses is owned by the Freightliner Corp. Since that purchase they have used Freightliner chassis and Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz/ Detroit Diesel power exclusively

      • Not quite. Take a look at the THOMAS website and you'll see that while they list DETROIT engines as standard on their buses, CUMMINS is optional. The C2 even had propane and CNG engine supplied possibly by PSI. They were 8.0L-8.8L V8 types.

  • Never even imagined that a school bus could become the coolest vehicle on the street, yet that day seems to be coming.

  • Always wanted an auctioned school bus for a toy. Usually reasonably priced. Now i really want one.

  • Ford needs to re-enter the segment with a new B-Series bus based off the medium duty lineup. I'm sure the non-compete clause they signed in the 90s has expired.

  • Well the school bus market is now pretty much proprietary with thier class C and D offerings so I doubt that will change. That way it's undivided responsibility. THOMAS uses the FREIGHTLINER chassis which is a sister division of theirs (DAIMLER) and IC bus is obviously a sister division of NAVISTAR(now part of VW).