New Flyer of America Inc., the largest transit bus and motorcoach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, announced this week that its Anniston, Alabama, facility completed its first full build of an Xcelsior CHARGE. The bus is an entirely electric, zero emissions, and is indeed a heavy-duty transit bus. I enjoyed a ride in the New Flyer XcelsiorÆ Electric Bus last year. I found it quiet, comfy, and smooth. It was the best ride quality I’ve found on a bus.
The Anniston facility now is one of many adding to the increasing New Flyer locations that now manufacture the Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric bus. Other locations include Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Crookston and St. Cloud, Minnesota. “New Flyer’s Anniston facility is also home to the Vehicle Innovation Center, opened in October 2017 and dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology, specifically in electric and autonomous propulsions. It is the first and only innovation lab of its kind in North America.”
New Flyer’s press release continues: “The Xcelsior CHARGE™, New Flyer’s next-generation battery-electric bus, debuted at the triennial American Public Transportation Association (APTA) EXPO in October 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. It features the proven Xcelsior transit bus platform with enhancements of extended range batteries (made with U.S.-based technology and manufacturing), industry-leading hill climbing ability, the highest passenger load carrying capacity, and ability to recharge with interoperable equipment available from globally recognized charging system suppliers.” The Xcelsior CHARGE™ is available in 35, 40, and 60-foot bus rapid transit articulated models.
“The completion of our first zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE™ transit bus produced start-to-finish at our Anniston facility, is yet another major accomplishment for New Flyer,” said Kevin Wood, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Facilities, New Flyer of America. “Over the past two years, we invested significantly to establish Anniston as a leader in American bus manufacturing and advanced vehicle innovation.”
In September, New Flyer made the announcement of a $25 million investment in renovations and expansions at the Anniston facility. The groundbreaking event was commemorated by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. New Flyer opened its Vehicle Innovation Center onsite in October 2017. We assume the company’s evolution in and commitment to battery-electric bus manufacturing in Anniston and elsewhere will continue as long as the company does, since we assume a 100% shift to electric buses in the coming years/decades.
“New Flyer currently employs 610 people in Alabama, and is expected to add approximately 60 people to the Anniston team in 2018. The NFI Group has over 50 years of experience in manufacturing zero-emission buses (ZEBs), and employs more American workers than any other U.S. bus manufacturer.”
“The Vehicle Innovation Center is dedicated to the exploration and advancement of bus and coach technology and serves to:
- Explore and advance bus and coach technology through sustainable research and development, fresh innovation, progressive manufacturing, and bold thinking;
- Foster dialogue through discussion, education, and training on the latest zero-emission and autonomous driving vehicle technologies;
- Engage learning through current and interactive exhibits, simulation and hands-on experiences, and observations;
- Generate energy and commitment to clean air quality, safety, and economic benefits for people, communities, and business;
- Harness the positive influence of collaboration, environmental stewardship, and social change to advance mobility solutions.”
The full press release is here.