New Flyer receives largest electric bus order in US history

An Xcelsior Charge NG bus An Xcelsior Charge NG bus

Bus and coach manufacturer NFI Group (formerly New Flyer Industries) through its subsidiary New Flyer of America, has been contracted to supply Capital Metro Transportation Authority (CapMetro) of Austin, Texas, with a series of battery-electric buses.

Initially, the bus builder will deliver 26 Xcelsior Charge NG forty-foot heavy-duty and four Xcelsior Charge NG sixty-foot heavy-duty battery electric buses.

The five-year contract further includes options to purchase up to 126 forty-foot and up to 15 sixty-foot BEVs, together with 427 chargers (197 depot plug-in chargers, 197 depot overhead chargers, and 33 on route chargers).

The order is said to be the largest to date for battery-electric buses in North America.

With between 32 and 61 seats, the Xcelsior Charge NG has battery pack capacities ranging from 160 kWh up to 525 kWh which returns a 250-mile (402 km) range. Over an anticipated 12-year working life, each bus represents a maintenance saving of $125,000 and up to $140,000 savings in fuel.

In most cases the lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMIC) battery pack is mounted on the bus roof. The waterproof modular battery enclosure is described as being ‘plug and play’, meaning it can be positioned anywhere there is a mounting system. Buses further feature an ELFA 3 traction system from Siemens, using compact inverters and embedded drive controls.

CapMetro provides about 20 million journeys each year across Austin. The contract will be a major step in the transport provider electrifying its fleet of 400 transit vehicles.

Other brands within the NFI portfolio include MCI (motor coaches), Alexander Dennis (single- and double-decker buses) and Plaxton (motor coaches).

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