New Flyer’s All-Electric Transit Bus Prototype Sees Daylight

New Flyer Industries Inc. announced today the unveiling of its prototype all-electric 40-foot Xcelsior heavy-duty transit bus.

The unveiling was hosted by Manitoba, Canada, Premier Greg Selinger and representatives from the partnership including: the Manitoba Government, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (“MHI”), New Flyer’s subsidiary, New Flyer Industries Canada ULC, Manitoba Hydro and Red River College.

The prototype is based on New Flyer’s 40-foot Xcelsior heavy-duty transit bus. The bus is equipped with an electric drive and is modified to carry advanced lithium-ion batteries from MHI that are charged from the city’s electrical grid instead of by a conventional diesel engine.

“New Flyer has been manufacturing buses for over 80 years and this is just another example of where we lead the bus industry in innovation,” said New Flyer’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Soubry. “From the introduction of low-floor buses, to articulated buses, to the industry’s first programmable logic control systems, New Flyer has continually set the pace.” Mr. Soubry further explained, “We have chosen to launch the electric bus prototype on the same bus platform into which New Flyer’s diesel, diesel-electric hybrid, compressed natural gas and electric trolley can be incorporated to give customers a variety of propulsion options for their fleet, while still providing them with standardization for operating cost optimization.”

Further demonstration and testing of the electric bus will occur during the next two years starting with dry-run operational testing by project personnel and then moving to operation under select route conditions.

The electric bus project is the first major activity undertaken under the Memorandum of Understanding on Renewable Energy Development between Manitoba and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, signed in 2010. The agreement created the structure for a series of potential collaborative projects between Manitoba and MHI in eight areas: electrification of transportation and recharging infrastructure projects; battery-storage technologies; heat-pump technologies; advanced biofuels technologies; wind-energy technologies; energy-efficiency technologies and systems; solar technologies and silicon processing; and integrated energy production, storage and utilization demonstrations.

Chris Stoddart, New Flyer’s vice president, Engineering Services commented, “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting partnership lead by the Province of Manitoba. The electric bus is a great example of superlative collaboration of government, educational institutions and industry for a common goal. The future is definitely green.”

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    What’s the range? I’m guessing 120 miles…


  • Lou C. Geusy

    What would be really cool would be mini-inductive charging stations throughout the service are. I know in our local bus system, the routes have synchronization points where the buses may have to wait a few minutes in order to match the published schedule. It they could top off their charge at these sync points, they would really only need an untethered range of about 30 miles to handle those cases where they get behind schedule and cannot stay very long at the charge points.

  • Dave Hiebert

    This is from the Winnipeg free press FYI No emissions — The bus is powered by energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Instead of an internal combustion engine, it’s propelled by an electric motor.

    Batteries — Up to 120 kilowatt hours of electricity are stored in high-voltage lithium-ion batteries at the rear of the bus. They will operate a bus for about four hours before needing a full recharge. New Flyer is looking at doing frequent recharges of about five minutes in length that will keep a bus on the road for an extra hour or two at a time.

    Electric drive — Direct current (DC) power from the batteries is converted to alternating current (AC) power to drive the motor. When braking, though, the motor acts as a generator to recover energy, just as in conventional hybrid vehicles.

    Auxiliary systems — The power steering, air compressor and air-conditioning systems are electrically powered.

    Heating, ventilation and air conditioning — An electrically driven air-conditioning system is used to cool the bus when needed. For moderately cold temperatures, the bus uses electric heating. For very cold conditions, a liquid-fuel heater warms the passenger cabin using a small amount of renewable biodiesel. That is to allow the bus to maintain its service range in winter.