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New Flyer unveils next generation of electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus; LA Metro contracts for up to 100 units

New Flyer of America, the US subsidiary of New Flyer Industries (NFI), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, introduced the next generation of its battery-electric heavy duty transit bus: the Xcelsior CHARGE. (Earlier post.)

The Xcelsior CHARGE extended range configurations allow for up to 600 kWh battery capacity, delivering realistic transit ranges of more than 200 miles on a single charge based on Federal Transit Administration test protocol.

New Flyer first revealed its battery-electric Xcelsior design in 2011, unveiled a prototype in 2012, and delivered the first bus in 2014. Over the past five years, New Flyer conducted intensive research, development and testing to improve the design, performance, and technological advancement of the battery-electric Xcelsior bus, which is now introduced as the Xcelsior CHARGE available in 35-foot, 40-foot, and 60-foot-articulated bus rapid transit models.

Xcelsior CHARGE features improved step height, expanded front door width, the best entry ramp ratio (1:7) in the industry for passengers with mobility assist devices, and best-in-class passenger carrying capacity (up to 83 passengers – seated and standing).

The electric buses feature a Siemens PEM permanent magnet motor with direct drive that delivers 1,475 lb-ft (2,000 N·m) of torque and 19% grade capability. The CHARGE uses battery packs from XALT Energy or A123 Systems. Batteries are available in high-energy version for extended range or high-power for rapid on-route charging and continuous operations.

LA Metro contracts for 100 Xcelsior 60′ buses. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA or LA Metro) has awarded New Flyer of America a contract for up to 100 Xcelsior battery-electric, zero-emission, 60-foot heavy-duty transit buses. The contract includes 35 firm orders with options to purchase an additional 65 buses.

The Xcelsior CHARGE buses will be deployed on LA Metro’s technologically-advanced Orange Line. These buses offer up to US$400,000 in energy savings and up to US$125,000 in maintenance savings over a 12-year life span, and can travel up to 230 miles on a single charge (with a 480 kWh pack, based on FTA Altoona Test Protocol). When charged on-route, the Xcelsior CHARGE remains continuously operational to meet daily service requirements.

New Flyer has bus service, parts, and manufacturing support at three California facilities located in Ontario, Los Alamitos, and Fresno. LA Metro currently serves as the transportation planner, coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for more than 10 million people residing in a 4,000-square mile area. In 2017, it committed to all electric buses by 2030.

This new award, which includes the Xcelsior battery-electric buses and charging hardware, will add a total of 200 equivalent units to New Flyer’s backlog.

NFI Group. NFI Group is the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, with 31 fabrication, manufacturing, distribution, and service centers across Canada and the U.S. employing over 5,800 team members.

It is North America’s heavy-duty transit bus leader and offers the largest transit bus product line under the brand Xcelsior, incorporating the broadest range of drive systems available, including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, trolley-electric, and battery-electric.

The NFI Group has more than 50 years of experience in manufacturing zero-emission buses (ZEBs). NFI Group actively supports over 44,000 heavy-duty transit buses (New Flyer, NABI, and Orion) currently in service, of which 6,400 are powered by electric and battery propulsion.

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