New Flyer of America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. (NFI Group), has announced that its Anniston, Ala., facility has successfully completed its first full build of an Xcelsior CHARGE zero-emission, battery-electric, heavy-duty transit bus.
The company says the Anniston facility now joins all other New Flyer locations with capability to manufacture the Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric bus, including Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Crookston and St. Cloud, Minn. 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.
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. According to the company, the new bus features the proven Xcelsior transit bus platform with enhancements of extended range batteries, strong hill climbing ability, high passenger load carrying capacity, and the 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,” says Kevin Wood, senior vice president of manufacturing and facilities of 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. We are proud to bring electrification into the fold and look forward to growing our footprint of zero-emission, innovative transportation that helps power America’s communities forward, on a safe and environmentally sustainable basis.”
Following the September announcement of a $25 million investment in renovations and expansions at the Anniston facility, and subsequent groundbreaking event commemorated by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, New Flyer opened its Vehicle Innovation Center onsite in October 2017 to mark its evolution in and commitment to battery-electric bus manufacturing in Anniston.
The New Flyer Anniston facility (formerly North American Bus Industries), was acquired by New Flyer in 2013 and consists of five buildings that manufacture transit buses from part fabrication, to high-strength frame welding, to final assembly. In 2015, New Flyer invested $20 million to transform the campus to a LEAN manufacturing site capable of producing New Flyer’s Xcelsior heavy-duty bus platform.
New Flyer currently employs 610 people in Alabama and is expected to add approximately 60 people to the Anniston team in 2018.