Platinum, Gold and Bronze differentiate the IC Bus HC Series

By David Hubbard

IC Bus, Warrenville, IL, says its stylishly designed HC Series commercial buses offer all the luxury and comfort with the functionality typically found in larger buses. According to the company, the vehicles in this series save on fuel and provide smooth passage through congested city traffic.

Each model in the HC Series features an integrated body construction and MaxxForce® diesel engine with Advanced EGR. The choices begin with the Standard vehicle with upgraded versions appropriately designated as a precious metal. IC Bus says the name for this basic vehicle implies that style, economy and versatility, combined with reliability, comes standard.

HC Series Platinum

IC Bus says its the top-of-the-line HC Series Platinum bus, showcased at the 2010 UMA Motorcoach Expo in Las Vegas, NV, is the leader of the pack. The Platinum measures 102 inches in width for more legroom and luggage space, and features an upscale interior, state-of-the-art audio and video entertainment system, climate control and generous seating.

“The HC Series Platinum enjoys great curb appeal with plenty of onboard amenities to make passengers feel pampered,” says Jeff Shank, assistant vice president, IC Bus sales. “This model is perfect for a wide range of tour charters, campus and church shuttles, and team sport outings.”

The HC Series Gold

The HC Series Gold offers operators the opportunity to upgrade and customize the HC Series Standard according to their own preferences. The HC Series Gold permits them to select from upgrade options and specifications that focus on exterior styling and interior luxury features.

“The vehicle underneath is just as rock-solid as the HC Series Standard,” says Ramases Bandas, IC Bus marketing manager. “The HC Series Gold simply presents an opportunity for the customer to transform the basic bus into its super model to accent the brand and offer the highest level of comfort.”

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HC Series Bronze

The HC Series Bronze entry-level commercial bus marks another first for IC Bus. The company sees this robust, medium-duty bus, available in lengths of 20 to 38 feet and priced accordingly, perfect to take on harsh economic conditions. According to IC Bus, this fully integrated vehicle offers the durability of a larger bus and at the same time respects the budgetary concerns of customers able to operate with lesser capacity. This model would typically address the needs associated with high-frequency paratransit and shuttle services, as well as publicly-funded, small-city transportation, such as for universities, retirement communities and airport rental car services.

Its lower passenger capacity and hydraulic brake system eliminate the requirement of CDL Air Brake Certification, while the short wheelbase and 19.5-in wheels provide high maneuverability.

“The HC Series Bronze model is in direct response to customer requests for increased durability and functionality in a smaller vehicle, such as a wide entry door and comfortable seating,” says Shank. “The design is purposefully attuned to specific medium-duty applications.”

The HC Series Hybrid

The HC Series Hybrid rounds out the IC Bus HC Series. The upgraded interior furnishings include stitched seating incorporating the IC Bus logo, as well as an ASA audio system and five suspended LCD video screens.

The MaxxForce DT diesel engine in combination with the Eaton electric parallel drive system promises up to 32 percent improvement in fuel economy, 35 percent reduction of NOx emissions and up to 85 percent reduction of particulate matter. The HC Series Hybrid electric bus delivers 660-860 lb-ft torque capacity from a 44kW electric motor located between the engine and the automated manual 6-speed transmission. Regenerative braking recharges batteries and helps to reduce braking and engine wear.

The Emery Go Round goes with HC Hybrid

The Transportation Management Association (TMA), Emeryville, CA, became interested in the HC Series Hybrid electric bus in a test drive of an early model and recently replaced three buses in its shuttle service with this vehicle.

The Emery Go Round shuttle service links Emeryville to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) light rail system and reports a more than 30 percent improvement in fuel economy with the hybrid vehicles.

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“The bus we tested was quiet, powerful and fuel efficient,” says TMA director, Wendy Silvani. “We liked that it was clean and incorporated green technology. This is about as close to zero emissions as we can get.”

Silvani also notes TMA expects to see a return on investment (ROI) for the hybrid system in just a couple of years.

Last year the Florida Department of Transportation drove an IC Bus HC Series Hybrid electric bus through 10 counties as part of its Green Tour to promote hybrid technology and implement clean transportation. Wallace International provided the service. As a result, Collier County purchased two of the buses after testing the vehicle for two weeks in June and receiving high marks from the staff and customers. BR