Collins: Propane NexBus achieves certification, goes into full production

Collins Bus Corporation announced that its line of propane-powered Type A small school buses are in production after the vehicle completed its federal certification process.

Built at Collins’ facility in South Hutchinson, Kan., the NexBus meets or exceeds all FMVSS certifications for school buses, including the standards for fuel system integrity. Additionally, the bus engine, developed in partnership with CleanFUEL USA, obtained certification from both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board.

“As the largest producer of Type-A buses in North America, we’re extremely proud of the work our Alternative Fuels Team has done to develop, test, and produce the first dedicated propane powered Type-A bus in the school bus market," said Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus. "Going forward, our commitment is to continue to lead the industry with alternative fuel options that will meet the needs of our diverse customer base.”

Collins said that propane has become the most widely used alternative fuel and provides fuel cost savings on an operating mile basis compared to gasoline and diesel. The alt fuel can produce 20 percent fewer green house gases, and has lower overall emissions. Lower carbon build-up and less oil contamination mean lower maintenance costs, which Collins said is a key selling point in this economy for school districts and bus operators.

The Collins NexBus Propane bus, built on a dual rear wheel GM chassis, exhibits excellent cold weather starting, has an estimated range in excess of 300 miles, and is available in capacities up to 32 passengers.
The Collins NexBus Propane school bus was the first of its kind to be announced to the market last year and will be available for the Collins, Mid Bus, and Corbeil brands. Demonstration vehicles will make the rounds at state and regional shows this summer, giving customers a chance see the latest in alternative fuel options. Since then, competitor Micro Bird by Girardin, a joint venture with Blue Bird Corporation, also adopted the propane platform.

- Ryan Gray

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