ARBOC Goes All-Electric with Equess CHARGE

With the launches of a new all-electric product innovation and a fresh look for the brand, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles is prepared to propel its vehicle lineup into the next generation of sustainability and energy-savings.

ARBOC’s Equess CHARGE is an all-electric vehicle developed in conjunction with New Flyer’s Vehicle Innovation Center in Anniston, Alabama. The Equess CHARGE will be available in 30-foot and 35-foot models and built on ARBOC’s Equess transit bus platform. Power is provided by XALT energy storage systems and SIEMENS electric motor.

“As we move forward, we are taking this initiative very seriously,” said Paul Soubry, president and CEO of NFI Group. “We have already made significant investments in our products, our facilities, and our engineering. We have teamed with key supply chain partners, and now have the largest zero emission production capacity in North America.”

ARBOC is a proud part of the NFI Group, and together the companies deliver sustainable mobility solutions through buses, technology, and infrastructure.

Much like its diesel-powered counterpart (The Equess), the low-floor Equess CHARGE features a 39-inch entryway into a stepless cabin – promoting equal access for passengers with mobility assist devices. The Equess CHARGE can accommodate up to 33 seated passengers and six wheelchair passengers. Both the 33- and 35-foot models are available with dual-entry doors, with the second entrance directly in front of the rear axle.

The vehicle’s SIEMENS ELFA 3 direct drive motor is stored in a rear compartment, along with a portion of the energy storage system. The remaining energy storage system and battery thermal management system are roof-mounted. The system mirrors the proven New Flyer all-electric platform, and is charged via the depot charger’s CCS Type 1 plug.

The ARBOC team worked in close collaboration with New Flyer’s development team to design and build ARBOC’s first zero-emission bus. In fact, the new vehicle proudly incorporates the proven and cutting edge zero-emission technology from New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE heavyduty battery-electric transit bus.

The company said that extended range configurations allow for up to 437 kWh battery capacity, and that the bus will be able to run approximately 230 miles between charges (depending on terrain and driver performance). A full charge of the vehicle can be accomplished in as little as four hours, depending on charger.

The Equess CHARGE is designed to include regenerative braking. When used effectively, this feature can significantly reduce brake usage – and in turn reduce brake wear and maintenance costs. The various features of the Equess CHARGE – including acceleration and regenerative braking – are tunable at ARBOC’s factory, allowing agencies to specify performance requirements.

The Equess CHARGE leverages New Flyer’s ‘Connect 360’ telematics and analytics reporting to monitor vehicle performance in real time.

Connect 360 allows transit agencies to expand insight and intelligence through real-time monitoring, and analysis, the company said. Ultimately, the collected data harnesses the potential for additional range capability through improved driving and vehicle performance. It also provides intelligence on the preservation of battery energy and offers the potential to reduce operating costs.

NFI and ARBOC said they understand the complexity of transitioning entire fleets to battery-electric power, and aim to simplify that process as much as possible. The importance of infrastructure cannot be overstated, ARBOC said, and the sole purpose of New Flyer’s Infrastructure Solutions Group is to support full-suite sustainable mobility projects from start to finish. The group’s abilities are vast, and include items such as support on design, budgeting, planning, and procurements. The group can support install, deployment, and commissioning of chargers – and can also provide input on areas like energy management strategies between the grid and the bus, or assist with the determination of wayside or depot charging requirements.

The Equess CHARGE prototype is complete and currently touring the United States. ARBOC anticipates full distribution in Q4 of 2021. The Equess CHARGE will be distributed exclusively by Creative Bus Sales in the United States, and by Dynamic Specialty Vehicles, Crestline Coach, and Creative Carriage in Canada.

For an in-depth analysis and preview of the ARBOC Equess CHARGE, be sure to read the Official BUSRide Road Test on the cover of BUSRide’s May 2021 edition.