ABC Companies showcases new technology, facilities and programs at UMA Motorcoach EXPO

The exclusive North American distributor of Van Hool motorcoaches had an information-filled UMA Motorcoach EXPO, with plenty of new developments slated for 2019.


ABC and partners forge ahead with new Van Hool CX45E All-Electric Bus

Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining traction in the U.S. market, and ABC and partners Van Hool and Proterra are poised to lead the switch to electric with the introduction of the Van Hool CX45E all-electric bus.

“The dynamic is changing, and the market is primed for this technology,” Roman Cornell, ABC executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said.

“Along with bringing our innovative new coach to market, we are also focused on preparing our customer base for acceptance and adoption of a technology that will forever change the transportation landscape,” Dane Cornell, ABC president and chief executive officer, added.

The Van Hool CX45E integrates all the specifications onboard the popular CX-coach platform with one distinctive exception: the switch from diesel power to Proterra’s battery-electric drivetrain and supporting components.

ABC and partners forge ahead with new Van Hool CX45E All Electric Bus

“In addition to the long-term value of battery-electric buses, we are proud to bring a truly zero-emissions solution to our industry,” Jay Oakman, senior vice president of commercial operations, said. “While Van Hool and Proterra bring laser-focus expertise to the design-build aspect of the project, the crucial aspects of charging and infrastructure are also well-supported via Proterra’s scalable and proven depot charging system.”

Adopted by major OEMs in automotive, transit bus and coach bus industries, Proterra offers multiple solutions that fit individual user demands for charging requirements. For the CX45E, powering up is a simple as plugging in a standard J1772-CCS Type-1 charger.

The CX45E all-electric prototype is currently undergoing rigorous field and bench testing to optimize performance and reliability. Information regarding performance range, battery-reliability and charging, as well as numerous simulations that replicate real-world conditions and applications are being compiled as tests are completed and validated. Comprehensive results and reports from phase one testing can be accessed through ABC’s Commercial Group. Please contact your ABC Account Representative to request a confidential presentation and findings.

A prototype of the Van Hool CX45E is slated for debut in the U.S. by the fourth quarter of 2019 with production models available for customer delivery following shortly thereafter.


ABC launches new Express inventory program at UMA Motorcoach EXPO 2019

For customers seeking quick delivery of new Van Hool equipment, ABC Companies is answering the call with its new ABC Express program. The recognized leader in the sales, service and support of advanced Van Hool transport solutions, ABC Companies will offer stock inventory of the market-leading Van Hool CX45 and CX35 coaches.

“We have an opportunity to optimize our manufacturing and delivery process based on customer demand and factory production cycles,” Roman Cornell said.

Via ABC Express, customers can choose from two non-custom, factory-specified grades, EXPRESS and EXPRESS ENHANCED, that are well-equipped with the most popular features and ready for expedited delivery. A few equipment highlights include:

EXPRESS:

  • Modern cloth interior
  • Woodgrain flooring
  • Lift ready
  • Rear window
  • Flushing lavatory
  • Aluminum wheels

EXPRESS ENHANCED:

  • EXPRESS highlights plus:
  • Leather insert seating
  • Upgraded parcel racks
  • Monitor package upgrade

Note: Specifications are subject to change.

Dane Cornell said understanding, planning and managing inventory levels more predictively is centered around ABC’s and Van Hool’s shared vision to step up service-level goals that support North American operators.

“With close to 2,000 CX units on the roads today, our new ABC Express program gives customers expedited delivery on a proven product line that is continuously in the production queue,” he said.

A limited stock of 2019 models of the CX45 are currently available for delivery.


ABC’s northern California facility designed to offer service enhancements and high-tech support to customers

ABC Companies’ northern California campus is stretching the parts and service business to include many value-added programs to support customers today and in the future. The state-of-the-art facility was planned to meet the region’s growing demand for centralized equipment support and services, including parts availability and repairs, maintenance and technical assistance and — in the near future —electric-vehicle service capabilities.

Encompassing more than three acres in the heart of Alameda County’s Tri-Cities area, the new facility offers the most current diagnostic and repair equipment available, free Wi-Fi and customer lounge area, a full parts warehouse and retail counter, and two acres of secure, well-lit and landscaped parking area available for lease to operators.

“We are unique in that we can offer parking for long- or short-term usage,” Bryan O’Connell, ABC general manager and senior vice president for the western region, said. “With secure parking at a premium in this area, our ability to accommodate fleet operators adds value to our overall service offering.”

“This location has enabled ABC to establish a strong position in the dynamic NorCal market,” Dane Cornell said. “The region is an epicenter for innovation, where rapid adoption of new technologies is the norm.”

“Our cutting-edge facility is designed to support a full range of needs for many types of fleet operations, both diesel-powered and (in the near future) electric-powered vehicles,” Roman Cornell added.

As ABC, Van Hool and Proterra develop their new all-electric Van Hool CX45E vehicle, charging capabilities and infrastructure will be key to its introduction and success. As such, plans are underway to offer EV maintenance and charging platforms at the Newark facility in California. ABC will complete all necessary certifications for EV tech training as part of its rollout plan.


New telematics program in development at ABC Companies

ABC Companies has developed a cloud-based, telematics solution for fleet operations that will launch under the name ABC Connect. Built to meet the challenges of managing fleet assets, driver performance, onboard safety management and more, ABC Connect offers users a robust solution that provides a wealth of data and information across multiple aspects of fleet operations.

“Capturing and utilizing important data relative to all fleet activities is crucial to improving how operators do business today,” Roman Cornell said. “As we develop and rollout ABC Connect to customers, our main focus is on formulating a solution that offers predictive intelligence, so operators can take action where and when it’s needed to effectively avoid unnecessary costs and damage that can impact their cost of ownership and bottom line.”

Designed as a fully-integrated solution, ABC Connect utilizes relational database technology, and features a user-friendly, uncomplicated graphic interface to give operators real-time and historical views of fleet and personnel assets and activities. Additionally, tools and customizable reports are offered to enhance business intelligence and support active decision-making focused on predictability, productivity and profitability. The solution will be made available in three tiers allowing for a phased-in implementation approach that enables operators to adapt program versions as required.

“We increasingly hear about the frustrations that operators experience around integrating multiple off-the-shelf solutions. In some instances, they even write their own apps to link disparate databases,” said, ABC vice president of marketing Thom Peebles. “ABC Connect is designed to solve that challenge by offering one single platform that supports a suite of applications from which operators can pick and choose based on their unique requirements. The scalability of our offering is a big plus for customers not only in terms of flexibility, but it also keeps the cost of entry feasible.”

ABC is currently utilizing the platform at its Winter Garden, Florida location, in conjunction with beta-site testing within a customer setting in its Western region over the past four months.

ABC is targeting mid-year for program ramp up with commercial rollout to follow around the third quarter of 2019.

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