A first-of-its kind vehicle will be hitting the streets this autumn in Colorado as an all-new, all-electric, ‘Magic Bus’ Mobile Preschool will serve to put early-childhood education on wheels.
The Magic Bus is a program of the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365, and is a Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicle – the first all-electric mobile preschool in the world.
The all-electric bus will join its gas-powered counterpart so that two buses will make the rounds through neighborhoods in Eagle County Colorado, four days a week beginning Oct. 5, 2020. Classes are an hour-and-a-half long and are free of charge, helping ensure that critical childhood learning is available to as many children and families in the community as possible.
“The children and families served by the Magic Bus need to be kindergarten-ready even considering the current crisis,” says YouthPower365 PwrUp Senior Manager Kendra Cowles. “The Magic Bus plays a critical role in preparing them to successfully transition to school.”
The Vail Valley Foundation’s Magic Bus is based on Winnebago Industries’ standard J33SE zero-emission commercial vehicle, utilizing Motiv Power Systems’ all-electric EPIC Ford F-53 chassis. Summit Bodyworks was responsible for the vehicle upfit. Significant road testing has been conducted on the vehicle that houses six batteries and delivers up to 100 miles on a full charge. The Magic Bus is expected to see up to 85 percent operation and maintenance cost savings.
“We are pleased to see our all-electric vehicle platform being used to provide early childcare programs for Eagle County’s low-income families. The all-electric vehicle will enable operation in a quiet, emission-free manner,” said Robert Kim, Director of the Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicle Division.
When the Magic Bus rolls into a neighborhood, children climb aboard for a day of learning, growth, education and emotional support from teachers who have become integral parts of the local community. Through songs, read-alouds, exercise games and vocabulary-building activities in Spanish and English, the children gain essential preparation for the big step into kindergarten.
“Most parents walk their student to the bus for a quick check-in to see how the family and child are doing, share tidbits about class instruction or their specific child’s progress,” Cowles says. “The bus is customized to operate as a center-based preschool classroom, complete with dramatic play and kitchen areas, building blocks and plenty of dinosaurs.”
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, YouthPower365 worked closely with Eagle County Public Health to develop new protocols including the creation of a sanitary environment, utilizing social distancing, masks, frequent hand washing, and many other techniques.
Another positive change is, of course, the new Bus’ light carbon footprint.
“Motiv’s mission is to free fleets from fossil fuels, so it’s encouraging to see community outreach merge with emission-free transportation to provide education to families who are unable to access brick and mortar facilities,” said Matt O’Leary, Motiv Chairman and CEO. “Equal education and clean air are two of the most important things we can provide to the next generation, and we are proud to play a part in the Vail Valley Magic School Bus project.”
Learn more about this extraordinary project at YouthPower365.org.
The Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 provides afterschool and summer programming in early childhood (PwrUp), to K-12 (PwrHrs), and college and career-readiness (PwrOn) throughout Eagle County, Colorado, so that young people are working with familiar faces every step of the way along their journey. YouthPower365 has a mission to provide year-round extended learning opportunities that empower and educate the youth and families of Eagle County from cradle to career, with a vision to serve, “Every Child, Every Day.”
Visit YouthPower365.org for more.
About the Vail Valley Foundation
The Vail Valley Foundation is a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit corporation with a mission to enhance the quality of life in the Vail Valley and showcase our community to a global audience through arts, athletics and education.
The organization’s work in education is through YouthPower365, a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit corporation with a mission to provide year-round extended learning opportunities that empower and educate the youth and families of Eagle County from cradle-to-career readiness. The Vail Valley Foundation also provides the Vail Valley with several of its most treasured annual events, such as the GoPro Mountain Games, the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup races, the Vail Dance Festival, and the Hot Summer Nights and ShowDown Town free concert series’. The Vail Valley Foundation also manages and operates two performing arts centers, the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Village and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, providing more than 100 Broadway, dance, comedy, classical, rock, pop, jazz, community and family events per year.
Vail Valley Foundation activities and events are in part made possible by cornerstone partners: the Town of Vail, Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek Resort Company, GMC, and TIAA Bank.
To learn more about the Vail Valley Foundation activities and events visit www.vvf.org.
About Winnebago Industries
Winnebago Industries, Inc. is a leading U.S. manufacturer of outdoor lifestyle products and commercial vehicles under the Winnebago, Grand Design, Newmar and Chris-Craft brands, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities. The company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheel products, boats, and commercial community outreach vehicles. Since the 1960s, its Specialty Vehicles division has leveraged motorhome platforms to design and build custom community outreach vehicles for customers around the world. With flexible floorplans and chassis options to suit different budgets and sustainability goals, Winnebago Industries commercial shells are ideal for applications such as mobile medical and dental services, DUI/BAT, cancer and preventive screenings, food trucks, event marketing, bloodmobiles, classrooms, bookmobiles, and many other applications. Winnebago Industries has multiple facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, and Florida. The Company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and traded under the symbol WGO. For access to Winnebago Industries’ investor relations material or to add your name to an automatic email list for Company news releases, visit http://investor.wgo.net.
For more information about Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicles, please visit https://winnebagoind.com/product-classes/specialty-vehicles or follow on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
About Motiv Power Systems
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Motiv Power Systems is a leading provider of proven technology to electrify medium-duty trucks and buses. Its commitment to freeing fleets from fossil fuels provides fleets a seamless pathway to electrification. Motiv’s proven EV technology is Ford eQVM-approved, CARB-certified, uses proven BMW batteries and is available for many configurations including step vans, box trucks, work trucks, shuttle buses, school buses, trolleys, and other specialty vehicles. Motiv has over 100 vehicles on the road, operating at over 99 percent uptime, and more than one million miles logged among several of the largest fleets in North America. Motiv’s adaptable technology solutions offer fleets up to 85 percent operation and maintenance cost savings and provides operators with a healthier, smoother, and quieter driving experience without polluting the communities they serve. For more information and career opportunities, please visit www.motivps.com.