A retrofit to drive the bottom line
The Inland Power Group introduces its Coach Fuel Economy Program
By David Hubbard
Inland Power Group, headquartered in Butler, WI, with six locations in WI, IL, IN, and MI, works hard to stay on the forefront of innovation in motorcoach efficiency, performance and safety as an Allison distributor and flagship Setra Service Center with fully-equipped, engine and transmission rebuild and repair facilities, as well as complete service support and parts for all makes.
For the past two years, the company has initiated an innovative Coach Fuel Economy Program, a process, which retrofits older coaches with the latest in efficiency advances.
The technology employed is becoming standard in the newest OEM products, with coach manufacturers such as Prevost, MCI, Van Hool and Setra signing legacy agreements with Allison Transmission, committing to work together to further reduce fuel consumption. The Allison transmission is the preferred equipment except in instances such as Prevost offering the Volvo I-Shift.
The Inland Power Group’s Coach Fuel Economy Program is engineered to help motorcoach companies derive similar fuel saving benefits from their existing fleets.
Inland says its goal is to help the operator improve the bottom line.
“In this day and age, simply improving fuel economy allows operators to remain competitively priced,” says John Ellsworth, motorcoach product support manager, Inland Power Group. “This retrofit ultimately leads to better profits.”
Over the last 18 months Inland Power has retrofit all 38 MCI E4500 coaches for Cavallo Bus Lines, Gillespie, IL and 11 Prevost H345s for Green River Lines, Peru, IL. Wisconsin-based coach and tour companies Badger Coaches, Lamers Bus Lines and Kobussen Trailways are implementing the Allison Fuel Economy Program in-house.
According to Ellsworth, the technology essentially aligns the performance with the “sweet spot” of the engine for optimum performance with the lowest possible fuel consumption. The retrofit process involves changing out the differential, reprogramming the engine and transmission, and resetting the control panel to accept the new differential ratio. The process is custom tailored for the coach being serviced.
“Only in the last few years has fuel economy become a serious concern for operators,” says Ellsworth. “Before, the customer valued performance above all. Drivers wanted to climb the hill at 70 mph and come down the other side at 70 mph. Today, they know exactly why they are climbing that hill at 55 mph.”
He says lowering the rpms to the engine’s sweet spot has drawn no complaints from operators and drivers.
“It is an absolute seamless process,” says Ellsworth. “The driver does not feel anything different in performance and handling after the retrofit.” BR