Blue Bird RE Bus

Carmel Clay Schools receives Indiana’s first Blue Bird electric school bus

Indiana school district adds first all-electric school bus in the state to their growing alternatively-fueled fleet

Carmel, IN (June 24, 2020) — Carmel Clay Schools welcomed the first all-electric school bus to Indiana, as a part of its initiative to move to greener, alternative fuel buses; project partners announced.

The zero-emissions bus, which was built by manufacturer Blue Bird and powered by the Cummins PowerDrive system, will reduce harmful emissions and create a safer environment for the students and communities in Carmel, Indiana.

“Carmel Clay Schools has been pursuing alternatively-fueled school buses for several years, and we see this as another step in expanding our efforts by introducing this zero-emission electric school bus into our fleet,” said Ron Farrand, director of facilities and transportation for Carmel Clay Schools. “We believe it is important as a pilot project to show how this electric bus will perform and to further reduce NOx and other emissions in our school district.”

Carmel Clay Schools introduced this Blue Bird electric bus into their fleets using the Carmel Clay School Bus Replacement Fund with help from the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Since the bus is 100 percent powered by electricity, it emits zero emissions of harmful substances such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons.

South Shore Clean Cities developed and submitted the successful grant application and serves as project manager for the electric school bus project. In that role, South Shore Clean Cities worked with infrastructure providers and school officials to provide critical education on charging infrastructure, charging best practices for energy efficiency and maximum range and reliability. The nonprofit is also managing the destruction of the diesel bus the new electric bus is replacing as well as required reporting and metrics.

The data collected from this project will be used to serve as an example to help other school districts follow Carmel Clay Schools as a leader in implementing zero-emission school buses into their fleets.

“South Shore Clean Cities was thrilled to partner with our members Blue Bird Corporation, Cummins and MacAllister Transportation to help bring the first electric school bus in the state of Indiana to Carmel Clay Schools through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund grant program,” South Shore Clean Cities Project Manager Ryan Lisek said. “We applaud Carmel Clay Schools’ administration and school board for their leadership in supporting sustainable transportation to improve air quality for their students as well as all of the residents in the district.”

The district installed two charging stations, one at its east side lot and one at its bus garage, to allow the bus to recharge in the same location where maintenance tasks are being performed. Maintenance on a Blue Bird electric bus is minimal, which eliminates the need for conventional fuel, air filters and transmission service and offers comparable performance to a traditional internal combustion engine.

“It’s always exciting to be part of the introduction of the first electric-powered school bus in a state,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “This one bus is bound to lead to more positive changes and we are looking forward to seeing the favorable environmental impacts this bus will have, as well as the maintenance and fuel cost savings the district will experience.”

“We are incredibly excited and proud to have a Cummins-powered Blue Bird electric school bus serving students right here in our backyard,” said Vinoo Thomas, General Manager of Electrified Powertrain Systems at Cummins. Cummins is headquartered in Columbus, Indiana approximately 60 miles south of Carmel. “School districts like Carmel Clay continue to push our communities forward as they invest in clean, safe, reliable transportation options for our children.”

The district had already begun implementing alternative fuel solutions into its fleet, with 24 of its existing buses being powered by propane autogas. The district plans to introduce more alternatively-fueled buses in the future, such as electric, to create cleaner air for its students and communities.

About Carmel Clay Schools: Carmel Clay Schools is a nationally recognized public school district that serves approximately 16,500 students and 2,400 staff across 15 school sites in Carmel, Indiana. The academic achievements of their students make them a top performing district in the state of Indiana and across the country. The district is rated A by the Indiana Department of Education and has been awarded 11 National Blue Ribbon Awards, a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. In addition to academic excellence, Carmel Clay School students are involved in hundreds of academic, athletic, performing arts and extracurricular activities and clubs throughout their educational experience. For more information, visit

About South Shore Clean Cities: South Shore Clean Cities is a nonprofit, member-based coalition dedicated to promoting sustainable transportation. South Shore Clean Cities is one of nearly 100 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions. The coalitions partner with members in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to increase the use and implementation of sustainable transportation and its infrastructure. The programs supported by South Shore Clean Cities and its members support domestic fuels, strengthen the nation’s energy security, reduce dependence on imported oil, improve air quality and support local jobs and the local economy. Learn more at

About Cummins Inc.: Cummins Inc. is a global technology company designing, manufacturing, distributing and servicing a broad portfolio of reliable, clean power solutions; including diesel, natural gas, hybrid, electric and other alternative solutions. Established in 1919 and headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), Cummins serves customers in more than 190 countries and territories around the world. More information can be found at

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