As the motorcoach industry moves forward into the new year, Prevost is keeping pace with the debut of the all-new H3-45 motorcoach at the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Motorcoach EXPO in Orlando. The latest improvements to the motorcoach include improved aerodynamics, increased driver and passenger visibility, a more dynamic driver’s cockpit, reinvigorated interior features, expanded parcel space, and more.
“We have three core values at Prevost which were instrumental in this coach redesign: customer intimacy, premium quality, and sound innovation,” said François Tremblay, president, of Prevost and Volvo Bus North America.
“Customer intimacy means ensuring we have a close relationship with customers in order to understand their needs,” he continued. “With our premium brand comes a premium quality, which means less downtime for our customers. Finally, we want to innovate in ways that create real value for our customers. It’s not always about the latest and greatest gizmos – we want to bring tangible benefits for companies purchasing the new H3-45.”
Driven by those values, Tremblay said the new H3-45 offers major improvements over previous models in comfort, serviceability, and fuel efficiency.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the new H3-45 is its exterior. With a sleeker design, the H3-45’s aerodynamic improvements when combined with other features gives an overall 12 percent increase in fuel economy. Fuel costs are increasing year over year, and Tremblay said that this was a top-of-mind concern when Prevost went to the drawing board for the new coach.
“We have operators putting more and more mileage on their coaches, so we wanted to ensure that fuel efficiency was a major focus,” he said.
The front-end’s redesign includes a more tapered angle that provides increased air flow around the coach. Prevost also modified the curvature of the vehicle’s horizontal and vertical axes, while the new windshield slants an additional 7 inches inward (compared to previous H3-45 models) to reduce wind drag.
The back of the coach features a redesigned lip to further increase the vehicle’s aerodynamics, and a newly designed electric entry door adds to the vehicle’s polished appearance.
“We have aimed to address the pain points of our customers,” said Kevin Dawson, vice president of commercial operations. “Over the past five years, fuel economy has been one of the biggest variable costs incurred by our operators’ businesses, so we viewed it as a priority in this new model. The improvement had to be more than incremental, and we are proud of the up to 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption.”
Prevost optimized the vehicle’s mirrors to be more aerodynamic and wind resistant, while maintaining a modern, sleek design. The new design also reduces backdraft and soiling, keeping the mirrors clean and clear during tougher driving conditions.
“We really wanted to improve the H3-45’s visual appeal while also reducing fuel consumption, and the new mirrors are major factor in both areas,” Tremblay said.
As with other Prevost motorcoach models, the company offers its proprietary eMirrors – the first electronic side mirror system in North American motorcoaches – on the H3-45. eMirrors replace a coach’s traditional mirrors with cameras and monitors in states where they have been approved. The eMirrors system minimizes blind spots and increases drivers’ field of view. It provides great visibility, even in pitch-black driving conditions and reduces driver fatigue.
The H3-45’s LED headlights provide more than 60,000 hours
“We worked with a partner to redesign the lighting system, which we have now patented,” Tremblay said. “We were able to leverage the reliability of LED technologies while increasing driver’s visibility.”
The vehicle comes with the Automatic Tag Unload feature – allowing the bus to quickly dump air pressure in its tag axle airbags during a low-speed turn. This feature increases tire life and reduces strain on the suspension.
Because serviceability – a central tenet of Prevost’s Uptime philosophy – was a critical element of the H3-45 redesign, so too it factored into elements of the new exterior. The bus features a Front Access Panel for improved maintenance access, as well as numerous maintenance-friendly features throughout the vehicle.
“For example: previously, if a customer needed to repair the previous H3-45’s defrost system, they would need to dismantle the dashboard to gain access,” Tremblay said. “On the new bus, a technician can pop open the front panel and quickly access the defrost componentry, filters, wiper motors, and more. Techs no longer need to spend the better part of an hour before they can begin service work.”
Another simple example of increased serviceability is found in the H3-45’s new front bumper. Previously, any damage to the bumper would require a full replacement. The new vehicle features a three-piece bumper – so customers need only replace the damaged portion in the event of a minor collision.
“A bumper repair now costs approximately one-third of the cost to repair previous models,” Tremblay said. “It’s a smart design meant to improve the overall cost of operation for our customers.”
Stepping Inside the all-new H3-45
Changes are noticeable upon opening the door, Prevost added a wide, curved stair entry with additional lighting. The customizable interior lighting is available in six colors, and also includes a cleaning mode for improved customer experience.
“The stairway really improves the initial feel of stepping on the coach, and the steps are designed to be easier for passengers,” Tremblay said. “The lighting and interior was inspired by the aerospace industry, where planes are well lit and feature a clean, white interior surface.”
“The interior LED lights are customizable based on customer needs,” Dawson added. “Depending on their brand message or corporate colors, there’s now potential for the interior lighting to match a customer’s external package or the groups’ brand colors.”
To add to the sense of openness and cleanliness, the new parcel racks are designed for optimized space and reliability. The material is easy to maintain, and the new racks add four inches of width to the center aisle.
Along with updated passenger PCU controls, the cabin features improved HVAC air distribution and improved views. The new window layout increases passenger visibility, perfect for long or scenic charter trips.
The passenger cabin is outfitted with Prevost’s proprietary CloudOne seat line designed for the North American market. The Cloud One line was designed with ergonomics and passenger comfort in mind. The seat is designed to reduce fatigue during long trips and is optimized for taller riders. It features a more comfortable upright position, an ergonomic headrest, and industry-leading lumbar support.
The Cloud One line is available in three collections: Standard, Premium and Luxury. Multiple trim options are offered with leatherette or full leather and double stitching and piping. Additional tufting is available with the luxury collection.
Moving forward to the driver’s cockpit, Tremblay said the driver experience was inspired by the automotive industry. The entire driver’s area has been redesigned to provide the feeling of driving a car in terms of environment and ease of use. The new dash is elegantly designed with an improved driver display, with GPS, surround and back-up camera views integrated into the screen. The adjustable steering wheel features similarly intuitive fingertip controls.
Driver visibility is increased with the H3-45’s reduced corner pillars, and the addition of wider, more reliable driver’s blinds.
“We really care about our drivers,” Tremblay said. “So, we brought the driver’s area to the next level. Drivers spend so much time in our vehicles, that they become a kind of ambassador for Prevost. We rethought all the ergonomics and features to provide drivers with a great looking and functional working environment.”
“The H3-45 has a strong product legacy of dependability, common parts, brand recognition, and curb appeal,” Dawson said. “This is an evolution of that legacy. It’s a refinement of what makes the H3-45 great, as opposed to a revolutionary change.”
“From designing a product, to servicing a product, to parts support, to warranty support – our customers are at the front and center of everything we do daily,” he continued. “With this latest evolution, we put our customers in the driver’s seat to design a product that truly exemplifies the Prevost brand.”
With the introduction of the all-new H3-45, Prevost has given the industry the ultimate ride. Check out the all the new features and options at www.prevostcar.com or contact the regional sales manager in your area.