MCI Kicks off Trials of New Electric Bus Throughout California


Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., is offering a statewide tour of its first all-electric over-the-road coach in California.

The MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE is designed for long-range express routes and improved accessibility. FlixBus, a city-to-city express service mobility provider, was the first to send the D45 CRTe LE CHARGE on a Sacramento to San Francisco route for evaluation on Oct. 28.

“Over the next three months, we’re creating opportunities for private and public transportation leaders in California and other states to test our next-generation D-Series coach, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle built for the highway,” says Patrick Scully, MCI’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. “This model’s breakthrough in accessibility has the ability to transform express service while helping communities reduce their carbon footprint.”

On Nov. 1, the D45 CRTe LE tour shifts to public transit operators throughout California. Each stop will provide guests a walkthrough of the coach, along with a technology review and demo rides along current routes. In turn, MCI will collect data to optimize the design and identify a recommended charging strategy. When the tour concludes, MCI will send the bus for Altoona testing.

“In all, we will be prepared to deliver a 100 percent electric coach that performs the same or better than our current clean diesel, hybrid and CNG models,” says Tom Wagner, MCI’s vice president of public sector. “Our electric development has been accelerated with the assistance from our sister company, New Flyer, supporting us with their many years of experience producing electric buses.”

The MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE will feature a 750 V high-torque Siemens electric drive motor with 350 HP and a maximum torque of 3,320 ft-lb, powered by a 389 kWh energy storage system (which is also available up to 544 kWh) built on the NMC lithium-ion cell platform from U.S.-based XALT Energy. To meet long-distance commuter needs, this model’s high-power, plug-in battery follows the J1772 interoperability standard and charges to full in less than 3 hours with a 150 kW in-depot charger.

The model is also equipped with MCI Connect Telematics, a system that measures key performance metrics.

In addition, the D45 CRTe LE CHARGE features a patented low-entry vestibule with a seating area and a ramp that significantly improves dwell times and the boarding and ride experience for passengers with disabilities.

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