Test rides, advanced driver assistance systems innovation and service and support developments along with a sustainability update at first-ever West Coast Reliability Symposium at MCI Sales and Service Center in Hayward, CA
Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., one of the world’s largest independent global bus manufacturers, offered a sneak preview of the battery-electric, all-accessible MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE in Hayward, CA October 1.
The occasion is the first Reliability Symposium for West Coast operators at the MCI Service Center, 4120 Point Eden Way. The Hayward location, one of MCI’s busiest serving Bay Area’s growing Silicon Valley employee shuttle operations, public transit agencies and dozens of tour and charter companies, featured a demonstration of MCI’s move into all-electric transit at the Symposium.
“We are in the midst of very significant product launches, combined with service initiatives that have specific focus on the Bay Area market,” said Patrick Scully, MCI Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. “MCI’s move into battery-electric is one of our most significant, and our all-electric J4500e and D45 CRTe LE models that inaugurate the MCI CHARGE product lineup will be game-changers in private and public transportation. Our expertise in electric comes with our reliability reputation and the expertise in electric transit buses from our sister company New Flyer.”
At the Oct.1 event operators also had the chance to test ride the latest J-Series models, which now includes the 45-foot J4500, equipped with efficient Cummins X12, and the smaller 35-foot J3500. Both models feature electric cooling (e-fan) systems for fuel efficiency improvements and the latest-generation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) plus 360-degree camera systems as options.
MCI also showcased other NFI Group brands including New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric low-floor transit bus operated by AC Transit, and Alexander Dennis’ double-deck bus for North America.
MCI’s newest Service Center, serving all Northern California, opened in 2017 with a $3 million investment to support its companywide prototype team in maintenance, repair and new and pre-owned coach sales.
Learn about sustainability and MCI’s newest green options
David Warren, New Flyer of America Inc.’s Director of Sustainable Transportation and an expert in alternative fuels was a lead speaker on the panel which included Scully along with MCI’s JP Pelletier, Vice President of Engineering and Quality; Michael McDonald, Sustainable Transportation Specialist; and Brent Maitland, Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning. Discussions focused on customer demonstration plans and market launch for 2020 as MCI charges toward having the first proven US-based motor coach in 100% battery electric power, setting the stage for an even greener future for public transportation on the eve of California Clean Air Day October 2.
The battery-electric D45 CRTe LE CHARGE wasn’t MCI’s only breakthrough on display in Hayward. “The innovative LE (Low Entry) vestibule with a ramp that significantly improves the boarding and ride experience for passengers with disabilities is in itself a revolutionary design of benefit for Bay Area passengers, whether riding public transit or employee commuter shuttle offered by technology companies and their transportation programs,” added Maitland.
MCI also plans to install an ABB 150 kW charging station at its Bay Area location to facilitate the demonstration and ongoing testing of the electric motorcoaches.
The first-ever battery electric J4500e and the MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE Commuter Coach will feature the high-torque Siemens electric drive motor with a power rating of 260 kWh and maximum torque of 3,320 LB FT, powered by 63 Ah NMCI lithium-ion ultra-high energy cells by XALT. To meet long-distance commuter needs, this model’s high-power plug-in battery charges in approximately 4 hours. MCI plans to have its 100 percent battery-electric coaches in the market with passenger service and ready for start of production in 2020, and ultimately plans a broad range of electrified vehicles.
MCI also plans a next generation D-Series high floor coach – the MCI D4520 in 2020 and MCI D45 CRT with a mid-lift in 2021. Other variants include a Buy-America compliant, high floor commuter coach with mid-lift in a 40’ version.
MCI has equipped its Bay Area location with services important the marketplace, offering flexible service hours, complete coach maintenance agreements and access to on-call MCI mobile maintenance assistance. Services also include scheduled preventative maintenance and repair along with inspections and oil sample analysis as required by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and CHP (California Highway Patrol). A state-of-the-art bus wash system is underway at the facility which also features the newest diagnostic equipment and offers warranty service, engine repair, brake and air systems service and HVAC services, audio/visual installation and upgrades.