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Mass Transit: New Flyer of America’s Vehicle Innovation Center Opens to Advance the Public Transportation Industry

Published by Mass Transit

New Flyer of America Inc. opened its doors last week to the new 30,000 square foot Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”). U.S. Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Jane Williams, along with several elected officials and industry leaders, delivered remarks at the grand opening ribbon cutting celebration in Anniston, Alabama on October 12 where more than 125 New Flyer customers, suppliers and team members were invited to tour the VIC’s manufacturing lab, virtual reality learning spaces, driving simulators, and other interactive exhibits.

“The collaboration between New Flyer, the city of Anniston, and the state of Alabama is a shining example of the power of public private partnerships, which is a key component of U.S. Transportation Secretary Chao’s Innovation Agenda,” said Williams. “We continue to embrace new technologies that will boost our economy and make our transportation safer and more efficient, and I am confident this facility will bolster the transit industry for years to come.”

“At New Flyer, we’re not waiting for the future to happen, we are shaping it,” said Paul Soubry, chief executive officer of the NFI Group. “The VIC is not a museum for technology; instead, it is a dynamic, interactive, and progressive place where we can learn, share and work together to drive American public transportation innovation.”

Newly appointed Chair of the American Public Transportation Association Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., also delivered remarks: “Our industry is facing the most significant transformation we have seen in generations. As our customers’ needs continue to evolve, we too must evolve with them, offering real, sustainable solutions that foster growth. The Vehicle Innovation Center is not just a vital resource for public transportation, it is also an economic catalyst for our nation.”

“New Flyer of America is building on our 87 year legacy of innovation to deliver disruptive transit technology that meets the complex demands of America’s growing communities today and into the future,” said Wayne Joseph, president of New Flyer of America. “The VIC is our latest investment in delivering safe, efficient, comfortable and sustainable bus technology that Americans can rely on.”

The VIC is North America’s first innovation lab dedicated to the advancement of bus and coach technology that connects people to places, with a focus on the environment and sustainable transportation. It will feature advanced research and development capabilities that will evolve electric, autonomous and telematic technologies for bus transit.

“Anniston is being placed squarely on the map for innovation and technology, and New Flyer is a key part of that,” said Mayor Jack Draper. “I applaud New Flyer for its bold commitment to research and development that will further advance public transportation, which so many Americans depend on.”

The VIC was created by New Flyer in partnership with Motor Coach Industries Inc., also a subsidiary of the NFI Group, to deliver on NFI Group’s commitment to investing in U.S. innovation, jobs, infrastructure, and manufacturing.
VIC official partners include Siemens, ABB, XALT Energy, A123 Systems, Parker/Vansco, Valeo (Spheros), Vapor Bus International (WABTEC), Powerex Inc., Ballard Power Systems, Hydrogenics, ChargePoint, Thermo King, EMP, Center for Transportation and the Environment, CALSTART, and Alabama Power. Over the next two years, NFI Group will invest more than US $9.1 million to advance its electric-bus manufacturing program. This will complement the USD $25 million 36-acre Anniston campus facility expansion, which was supported by NFI Group, the City of Anniston, State of Alabama, and Alabama Power.

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