Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., (“NFI”), one of the world’s largest independent global bus manufacturers, is making history in California with a statewide tour of its first all-electric over-the-road coach—the groundbreaking MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE, designed for long-range express routes and improved accessibility.
“Over the next three months, we’re creating opportunities for private and public transportation leaders in California and other states to test our next-generation D-Series coach, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle built for the highway,” said Patrick Scully, MCI vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. “This model’s breakthrough in accessibility has the ability to transform express service while helping communities reduce their carbon footprint.”
FlixBus, a fast-growing city to city express service mobility provider, is the first to send the D45 CRTe LE CHARGE on a Sacramento to San Francisco route for evaluation on October 28. FlixBus is the largest, long-distance, tech-driven mobility provider in Europe that’s now operating in the U.S.
“FlixBus is changing the way people access transportation by applying their innovative model to better connect people to places by bus,” said Brent Maitland, MCI vice president of marketing and product planning. “The iconic brand’s long-distance application presents an ideal format to demonstrate our electric platform because of our roles as mobility solutions providers to mitigate congestion and improve the environment. Our customers know MCI to be reliable in both product and support. And now we’re at the forefront of reliable electric motor coaches.”
On November 1, the D45 CRTe LE tour shifts to public transit operators throughout California. Each stop will provide guests a walkthrough of the coach, along with technology review and demo rides along current routes. In turn, MCI will collect data to optimize design and identify recommended charging strategy.
“In all, we will be prepared to deliver a 100 percent electric coach that performs the same or better than our current clean diesel, hybrid and CNG models,” said Tom Wagner, MCI vice president of public sector. “Our electric development has been accelerated with the assistance from our sister company (New Flyer), supporting us with their many years of experience producing electric buses.”
The tour will be the first time the riding public will experience the D45 CRTe LE CHARGE, but industry insiders got a sneak peek Oct. 1 at the Bay Area Reliability Symposium at MCI’s Hayward Service Center (4120 Point Eden Way), a busy hub for mass transit, tour and charter operators, and high-profile private employee transportation programs.
With California’s long history of advancing green technologies and Zero Emission transportation, it was the perfect venue to spotlight MCI’s electric leadership.
“We see the electric version of our next generation D-Series model as a game-changer in commuter express transportation at a time when public and private transit operators are considering their zero-emissions options,” said Maitland. “The MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE follows our long-range J4500e CHARGE, the electric version of our luxury tour and charter coach with J deliveries beginning in 2020. It’s a lineup that’s ready to lead.”
A new era for MCI and all-electric distance transit
The MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE is a major step for the MCI D-Series, which is the industry’s all-time best-selling coach family; the D-based MCI Commuter Coach has long been a staple of both private and public transit fleets.
The MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE will feature a 750 V high-torque Siemens electric drive motor with 350 HP and maximum torque of 3,320 ft-lb, powered by a 389 kWh energy storage system (which is also available up to 544 kWh) built on the ultra-high energy NMC lithium-ion cell platform from US-based XALT Energy. To meet long-distance commuter needs, this model’s high-power plug-in battery follows the J1772 interoperability standard, and charges to full in less than 3 hours with a 150 kW in-depot charger.
The model is also equipped with MCI Connect Telematics, a system that measures key performance metrics including distance and time on route, auxiliary systems, along with battery efficiencies related to grade, and ambient temperature in real time.
Besides its breakthrough technologies, the D45 CRTe LE CHARGE features a revolutionary patented LE (Low Entry) vestibule with a seating area and a ramp that significantly improves dwell times and the boarding and ride experience for passengers with disabilities.
MCI will send this battery-electric next-generation D to the Altoona test, required for all new bus models for use in federally funded public transit systems procurement, when the rally concludes. The D range of MCI coaches will be fully Buy America compliant.
With over 8,900 team members operating from more than 50 facilities across ten countries, NFI is a leading independent global bus manufacturer providing a comprehensive suite of mass transportation solutions under brands: New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), Alexander Dennis Limited (single and double-deck buses), Plaxton (motor coaches), MCI® (motor coaches), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), and NFI Parts™. NFI buses and motor coaches incorporate the widest range of drive systems available including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, and zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell). In total, NFI now supports over 105,000 buses and coaches currently in service around the world. NFI common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI. News and information are available at www.nfigroup.com, www.newflyer.com, www.mcicoach.com, www.arbocsv.com, www.alexander-dennis.com, and www.nfi.parts.
Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is North America’s public and private market motor coach leader, building the J4500 (the industry best-seller for 13 consecutive years), the all-new 35-foot J3500 model, and the workhorse D-Series including the breakthrough ADA-accessible MCI D45 CRT LE Commuter Coach offering lower dwell times. MCI will add battery-electric propulsion in 2020. With nearly 30,000 MCI coaches on the road, MCI also provides maintenance, repair, 24-hour roadside assistance, parts supply through NFI Parts, and technician training through the industry’s only Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accredited MCI Academy. Further information is available at www.mcicoach.com.