The unveiling was hosted by Manitoba 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 successful 40-foot Xcelsior heavy-duty transit bus, North America’s most advanced bus platform available today. 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."
New Flyer is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in Canada and the United States. New Flyer’s three manufacturing facilities – in Winnipeg, MB; St. Cloud, MN; and Crookston, MN – are all ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified. New Flyer currently operates a parts fabrication facility in Elkhart, IN and four PDCs in Winnipeg, MB; Erlanger, KY; Fresno, CA and Brampton, ON.
With a skilled workforce of over 2,000 employees, New Flyer is a technology leader, offering the broadest product line in the industry, including drive systems powered by clean diesel, LNG, CNG and electric trolley as well as energy-efficient diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. All products are supported with an industry-leading, comprehensive parts and service network.
New Flyer has delivered over 31,000 heavy-duty buses in Canada and the United States.