Micro Bird shows its commitment to EV leadership by investing in key technology with acquisition of leading EV integrator in Type A school bus market
DRUMMONDVILLE, Quebec–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Micro Bird Holdings (Micro Bird), a Blue Bird and Girardin joint venture and North American market leader in the Type A school bus market, has acquired a controlling interest in the EV drivetrain integrator and supplier GranTuned Automobiles (Ecotuned). This strategic acquisition firmly positions Micro Bird for substantial growth in the light and medium duty EV market by bringing core electrification-expertise and value to both Micro Bird and the broader Blue Bird Corporation.
“Over the years, Micro Bird has evaluated many up-and-coming EV companies and found in Ecotuned a more optimized, efficient and technologically-advanced solution that is faster to install, due to its patented cradle system, and does not compromise on safety and performance,” said Steve Girardin, president of Micro Bird.
Founded more than ten years ago in 2011, Ecotuned has successfully developed one of the most efficient EV drivetrains for light and medium duty applications. Its market leading energy-efficient EV solution comes predominantly from a proprietary two-speed EV transmission, battery management systems (BMS) as well as advanced algorithms, which allow for a smaller electric motor, less batteries and more useful payload, without compromising performance. The Ecotuned drivetrain comes standard with Level 2 and 3 charging and is V2G capable.
The transaction is effective Thursday August 12, 2021, and all three founding members will continue to be shareholders and play an instrumental role in the evolution of the company. “Micro Bird was one of our first customers and we have enjoyed a very close partnership and collaboration,” said Andy Ta, Ecotuned Founder. “We look forward to working even closer together and see Ecotuned achieve its full potential.”
For more than five years now, Micro Bird and Ecotuned have been closely working together to perfect the medium-duty EV powertrain which is currently offered in the Micro Bird G5. “The intent from the beginning was always to offer a properly integrated solution that works in harmony with our products and is supported by an experienced and established network of dealers and professionals,” added Steve Girardin.
The Micro Bird and Ecotuned partnership is the EV solution of choice for North America’s Type A school bus market, achieving over 80% market share in the segment over the last twelve months. This segment leadership further reinforces Blue Bird’s overall North American market share leadership in the EV school bus market, having delivered more EV school buses in the last 12 months than all its competitors combined.
In addition to the school bus segment, Micro Bird also plans to deploy its Micro Bird G5 with Ecotuned EV powertrain in the commercial bus segment; more details to come soon. Ecotuned also plans to expand its EV powertrains in class 3 to 7 segments across various vocations.
“We are very excited about this highly-strategic acquisition,” said Phil Horlock, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “This acquisition reinforces our leadership in the EV school bus market while positioning Micro Bird and Blue Bird for significant growth in revenue, profitability and value for our shareholders. We look forward to utilizing Ecotuned’s significant EV capabilities within Blue Bird.”
About Micro Bird: Founded in 1966, today Micro Bird is recognized for its innovative products in the Type A category, and as a leader in the North American market for school, commercial, collective and adapted buses. The head office, plant and all marketing, engineering, manufacturing, research and development activities are located in Drummondville, Quebec, employing more than 500 employees. Micro Bird is currently experiencing significant growth in vehicles powered by alternative energies such as electric and propane. Micro Bird is a joint venture equally owned by the Girardin Group and Blue Bird. For more information, visit the website www.microbird.com
About Ecotuned: Ecotuned has developed one of the first electric powertrains to perform universal and reusable vehicles designed to electrify buses, trucks and light weight vehicles with traditional combustion into a 100% electric vehicle. For more details, please visit the Ecotuned Automobile website: www.ecotuned.com/accueil/
About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. Blue Bird has a rich history of bringing new technology to the school bus space and is the undisputed leader in alternative-power school buses, having more than 20,000 low and zero emission buses on the road. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.
About Girardin: Girardin has been a bus distributor for over 62 years, serving Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, and most recently to New York and Connecticut in the United States. Girardin is the official distributor of BLUE BIRD school buses and MICRO BIRD minibuses, being manufactured in Quebec. Today, Girardin is the leader in alternative energies (vehicles powered by propane, natural gas and electric) in school, commercial, urban and adapted transport. More information is available on the Girardin website: www.girardinbluebird.com.
ANNIE LANGLOIS, Partner, Senior Vice-President
Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations