ABC Companies at UMA: Electric CX, Buy America, new Newark facility & equipment refresh

ABC Companies and Van Hool revealed a number of breaking news items today at the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) EXPO:


Development of an all-electric version of the market -leading Van Hool CX series coaches in partnership with Proterra, a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles is underway.  The new Van Hool CX45E and CX35E models utilize the proven CX platform and will feature Proterra® E2 battery technology along with a fully-electric drivetrain designed to deliver exceptional operational, environmental and passenger benefits.  The CX Electric Vehicle partnership will bring together the resources of three market leaders – ABC Companies, Van Hool, and Proterra — each committed to technology innovation.

The vehicle will be designed and developed at Van Hool’s Belgium-based operation, and the first prototypes will be built there as well.  Currently the diesel-powered CX45 and 35 models are fabricated in Skopje, Macedonia, and in the near term the production of the CX45E will take place at that site.  Ultimately, upon completion of Van Hool’s U.S. based production facility, orders for the electric model will be fulfilled on U.S. soil to meet Buy America compliance.

The all-electric CX Series offering is well aligned with the stakeholders’ vision and mission of forging and integrating cleaner technologies that move the needle forward in mass transportation with zero-emission technology.  “ABC and Van Hool are eager and poised to adapt Proterra’s best-in-class solutions that can help operators expand market reach and enhance the passenger experience,” said Mr. Dane Cornell, ABC Companies President & CEO. “We recognize the growing consumer demand for zero-emission products, particularly as it applies to moving populations throughout communities in the U.S. and North America.”

“We are responding to the demand for a truly zero-emission solution that can improve environmental quality and reduce operating costs, while continuing to deliver all the performance, reliability and safety the Van Hool CX Series product line is known for,” said Roman Cornell, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at ABC.  He added that the decision to offer a fully-electric product is a direct reflection of changing market needs driven by clean-energy initiatives, sustainable transportation solutions and green-technology consumer preferences and desires nationwide.

Van Hool has chosen Proterra as its technology partner for the CX Series Electric Vehicle project.  “Van Hool is truly excited and proud to partner up with Proterra, a pioneering company in the development and production of battery technology,” said Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool.  “The diesel CX45 coach has a proven track record and has become a benchmark coach in its own right in the industry.”  Integrating Proterra’s proven battery technology in the CX will take this coach to the next level.  It is a clear statement as to Van Hool’s long term commitment to the North American coach market and a testament to Van Hool’s responsiveness to the overall demand for zero emission vehicles at large and over-the-road coaches in particular.

“As corporations set ambitious sustainability agendas, the opportunity for all-electric fleets continues to mount,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra.  “We’re pleased to enter the motorcoach market with proven market leaders, Van Hool and ABC.”



Plans are in their final stages for Van Hool to begin building an American-based production facility later this year for the manufacture of diesel-powered transit city buses. ABC and Van Hool agree that offering the premium quality Van Hool line for transit-based applications is a natural product extension and an exciting opportunity for market expansion. As they enter the public market, the partners will target public agencies and private operators.  “We are focused on offering a proven product that can enable rapid market expansion into broader, more diverse service sectors,” adds Mr. Dane Cornell, President & CEO at ABC.  Additional private transit applications include providing and augmenting service for municipalities, county, state and federal agencies, corporate employee shuttles, university and school bus shuttles, connector services and more.  Mr. Roman Cornell, ABC Companies Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, adds, “The new Van Hool transit product will offer a potential win-win for all stakeholders.”

While Van Hool has enjoyed previous acceptance in the U.S. and Canadian transit markets with upwards of 550 bus deliveries in past years, the new production facility is a conduit for meeting “Buy America” compliance that will establish a strengthened presence in the U.S. market.  A southeastern U.S. location has been selected for the new plant site with plant opening and production commissioning by the year 2020.  The factory will be capable of producing 400 units in its first year of operation and is modeled after Van Hool’s state-of-the-art Macedonia production facility where the market-leading Van Hool CX45 and CX35 vehicles are currently fabricated.  Initial production will include diesel-powered vehicles, with plans to quickly ramp up for production and delivery of CNG and electric-powered models to buyers nationwide.

“Our experience and insights over 30 years are forming our vision for this future facility,” stated Mr. Filip Van Hool.  “America is our second home,” he continued.  “We love the American mind-set and we are fortunate to have a lifetime partner who shares our business philosophy and desire to see and seize new opportunities.”


ABC Newark Will Focus on Delivering Fast, Efficient Fleet Support.

Just 15 minutes from ABC’s Redwood, CA, operation and conveniently located in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, ABC will open a new Newark location at 7980 Enterprise Drive to serve employer shuttle operations, tour, charter, and commuter operators of all sizes and fleet profiles throughout the region.  The Newark location is on the East side of the San Francisco Bay and offers easy access to customers via Route 84, and interstate 880.  The facility will grow ABC’s Parts and Service presence to twelve locations throughout North America.

“We recognize the ongoing growth of this market and we’re eager to expand our reach by offering robust fleet support services, as well as everyday drive-up service to any fleet operator in the region,” said Jon Savitz, ABC Senior V.P./Service Operations.  The new facility is part of the company’s strategic vision of offering the broadest range of fleet services to cover every aspect of operations – and ultimately providing a truly one-stop experience for customers.

“Providing all the resources for fleet support in one state-of-the-art location will make ABC a more effective business partner for customers in the Bay Area as well as the Northern California region,” said Mr. Roman Cornell, ABC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.  “We are excited to enable our customers to better leverage our technical expertise and parts supply chain to improve their fleet operations and accelerate repair and service turnaround times.”

Situated on 3+ acres, the 30,000-square foot facility will offer:

  • State-of-the-art diagnostics, maintenance, collision and repair and vehicle care with-
  • Fourteen service bays
  • Two or three axle alignment/complete tire service & balancing
  • Full paint booth and body shop
  • A modern, comfortable driver’s lounge featuring WIFI, work areas, large screen TV,

pool table and more

  • Parts Warehouse & Retail Counter — 6,000 square foot dedicated parts warehouse and distribution center offering ABC’s expansive parts inventory available for counter pickup and shipping.

“In terms of parts distribution and access, we think customers will be delighted with this new location.  Along with OEM Van Hool parts and accessories, customers can order every popular make and model SKU and expect fast delivery and efficient turnaround time for in-shop repairs,” said Mr. Cornell.

With permitting processes completed and construction underway, ABC targets Q2, 2018, for expected occupancy with Grand Opening plans to be announced shortly.


Updated Van Hool CX45 And CX35 Models on Display at ABC Booth #1061.

Van Hool and ABC will have a refresh of their CX45 and CX35 models.  At UMA Expo 2018, visitors can see and inspect both the 45’ and 35’ coaches that now feature a modified exterior look at ABC’s Booth #1061.

Van Hool CX45 and CX35 Coach – EXTERIOR REFRESH includes:


Front-end redesign that integrates:

  • New headlight design including new daytime running lights.
  • New ACC panel
  • Increased front area for customer logos
  • New front bumper
  • Seamless side panels without moldings
  • New rear-end redesign including new tail light bezels, engine door latch, and body trim.
  • All square keys have been removed
  • LHS and RHS fuel fill options


Interior upgrades include:

  • New parcel rack design
  • Modern LED lighting
  • New overhead light service modules

Van Hool CX35 Two-door Model – AVAILABLE IN 2018

A two-door option on the popular Van Hool CX35 coach will be featured at UMA Expo 2018, as the company continues to capitalize on strong demand for the smaller vehicle.  Since the product’s debut in early 2015, close to 400 units have been delivered.  Not only does the smaller, more fuel-efficient model enable operators to expand service by adding new passenger applications, it also offers unprecedented parts interchangeability with the Van Hool CX 45-foot coach.  Operators who run both models in their fleets can accrue major savings and reduced parts inventory levels thanks to parts interchangeability.

ABC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Roman Cornell, says the Van Hool single-deck two-door model is gaining momentum.  With over 800 Van Hool two-door buses currently in North America, ABC is capitalizing on increased demand of these passenger-friendly vehicles.  “What we once viewed as a niche opportunity is becoming a popular trend,” says Mr. Cornell.  Two-door buses have always been popular throughout Europe and now U.S. operators are benefiting from the design that enables faster, easier and in some cases safer passenger loading and unloading.  Tour operators nationwide, as well as employee shuttle program operators, including large Silicon Valley-based employers, are driving demand for the product.  “We continue to innovate our product designs based on customer needs and future-leaning trends and technologies,” says Cornell.

Visitors can inspect and tour both the Van Hool CX45 and CX35 new product release at ABC Booth #1061 during UMA Expo 2018.  ABC representatives will be on hand to field questions and provide more information about all ABC equipment, parts and service options.