Next-generation transit bus unveiled
NFI Group steps up its game with battery electric vehicle
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This article was published 16/03/2021 (631 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NFI Group Inc. is stepping up its design game as electric bus demand is gaining momentum across North America.
On Monday, the Winnipeg-based busmaker unveiled its next-generation, battery-electric Xcelsior Charge NG heavy-duty transit bus.
The new bus features high-energy batteries that extend the vehicle’s range by up to 13 per cent, a redesigned battery pack that reduces maintenance and weight, and a new Siemens traction system that’s lighter weight and provides greater energy recovery.
Among other things, the lighter redesign allows buses to carry four more people.
The new Xcelsior Charge NG is already available in 35- and 40-foot models and a 60-foot model will be available later in the year.
Chris Stoddart, president of New Flyer and MCI, said “As EV (electric vehicle) demand continues to build, so too has our innovation. With better manufacturability, higher energy recovery, fewer parts, and improved system durability, our Xcelsior Charge NG is a high-performance bus that is more sustainable and easier to maintain.”
Earlier this month, the Canadian government announced a program to provide $2.75 billion in funding over five years, starting in 2021, to enhance public transit systems and switch them to cleaner electrical power, including supporting the purchase of zero-emission public transit and school buses.
In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of up to $180 million in competitive grant funds for low or no emission transit vehicles.
In a virtual presentation on Monday from NFI Group’s Vehicle Innovation Centre based in Anniston, Ala., where the company has one of its U.S. production centres, Stoddart said New Flyer’s latest design iteration is “THE most advanced electric bus on the market.”
“The electric vehicle momentum is building exceptionally fast especially after the monumental funding commitment for sustainable transit made in recent weeks on both sides of the border. Meeting that demand takes scalability, innovation and teams ready to deploy,” he said.
Along with the increased demand, there is also increased competition, but New Flyer remains the leader in electric bus models in North America and its battery-electric Xcelsior Charge and fuel cell-electric Xcelsior Charge H2 buses have already surpassed 4.5 million service miles.
Stoddart said the company used that expertise in zero-emission design, performance and research to develop its newest electric bus.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.