ABC Companies, a leading provider of motorcoach, transit and specialty passenger transport equipment and electric mobility solutions in the USA and Canada, has launched the Phase II Zero Emissions Cross Country Tour, which kicked off departure from ABC’s Newark, CA, facility this week.
The ABC “Charge on America” Zero Emissions Cross Country Tour follows a previous series of cross-country road test demonstrations of the Van Hool CX45E and TDX25E 100% battery electric premium motorcoaches, as well as a number of fully electric cutaway shuttles and vans. Utilizing publicly available charging stations located along the test routes, the EV coaches and units have successfully logged thousands of miles enduring variable road conditions, climate conditions and elevation gains — readily meeting projections for range, commercial charging capability, energy recovery and more.
The Phase II tour departed from ABC’s Newark location bound for company headquarters in Winter Garden, FL. During the 2,785-mile coast-to-coast journey, ABC will test its 100% fully electric Van Hool TDX25E 45’ double-deck coach, equipped with a Proterra battery system. The cross-country trip is designed to create awareness for ABC’s robust portfolio of electric vehicles — ranging from 8 to 75 passenger capacities. Moreover, relying exclusively on public chargers throughout the route, the tour will examine the need for dedicated commercial passenger vehicle charging infrastructure specifically designed for heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Many operators who currently run high-capacity EVs in their fleets have experienced firsthand the limitations and challenges when utilizing today’s existing system. The ABC “Charge on America” tour aims to collect public charging infrastructure data and identify areas for improvement within the grid — as it directly impacts high-capacity passenger travel for EVs like the Van Hool TDX25E double-deck motorcoach.
To further demonstrate the viability of battery-electric motorcoaches, and gain customer feedback while pushing the vehicles beyond their intended regional use routes, ABC Companies CEO Roman Cornell issued the cross-country tour challenge to its clean-diesel coach customer, Peoria Charter, based in Peoria, IL. Specifically, the challenge was issued to James Wang, who is employed by Peoria Charter and began the highly popular YouTube channel, Motorcoach World.
“After seeing how James and his Motorcoach World channel was trying to objectively educate the industry on various technologies, motorcoaches, and trends, I knew James was the man for the job,” Cornell said. “He is not afraid to provide an authentic review and he will share the good, the bad and even the ugly, but always in an objective way, through the lens of a motorcoach operator. With electric Van Hool motorcoaches making up over 20% of our total deliveries by the end of this year, we need people like James to provide the facts about what these EVs can, and just importantly, cannot do in operation.
“Our zero-emissions vehicles can be game changers in the right applications, however, the versatility and reliability of our clean-diesel Van Hool motorcoaches, along with their range, based on their exceptional fuel efficiency, means they will continue to be the workhorses for most of our motorcoach customers who need to cover long distances between extended stops. But this trip is about more than the vehicles, it is about raising awareness for desperately needed public charging infrastructure that can handle a 45’ motorcoach, or other medium or heavy commercial vehicles for that matter. With so much federal funding earmarked for infrastructure designed to accelerate use of EVs, we have become acutely aware that there is not nearly enough awareness or focus on large commercial vehicles that will have to rely on publicly available charging. The vehicles are there, but the infrastructure is not. James and his Motorcoach World YouTube channel, along with our continued efforts through the ABC Companies Zero Emissions Tour, will help amplify this need.”
ABC Companies Vice President of Marketing Thom Peebles added, “We are ecstatic that James and his colleague, Dennis Utley, will be taking on the challenge. They will be accompanied by James’ family and Dennis’ wife, so while we have made several cross-country trips before, this is the first that also includes passengers. James and the crew will be live streaming each day for a brief period, giving followers the opportunity to follow-along his journey and learn what electric motorcoaches and their required charging needs are all about. We truly appreciate James and Dennis stepping up to the challenge, and Peoria Charter for allowing them to participate.
“We already know the coach is completely capable of making the trip as it has several times before, but the variable is always the charging infrastructure. James and his channel will help share what works and what does not work when it comes to charging, and this sharing of the experience will no doubt bring critical awareness to the need for publicly available heavy commercial vehicle charging infrastructure.”
In addition to the daily live streams, Wang will provide post-trip coverage via Motorcoach World and VLOG on his own channel. Follow this link https://youtu.be/erJujuDD9pU to the Motorcoach World channel where Wang announces the trip and invites his audience to come along.
“The Van Hool TDX25E tour vehicle is also equipped with Starlink to deliver broadband internet capable of supporting the streaming planned for the ‘Charge on America’ cross-country tour. This installation of the Starlink system will be incorporated as part of the current field testing being conducted by ABC Companies utilizing the system. As with other new technologies, including recent items such as solar panels and other technology-based solutions, ABC Companies’ Technical Solutions team will accumulate data to optimize for use in commercial passenger applications,” according to a press release.
For more information, contact ABC Companies at 800-222-2871 or visit www.abc-companies.com.