On Tuesday, April 3, a test battery-electric bus owned by New Flyer of America Inc. was involved in a single vehicle incident in Anniston, Ala., while undergoing advanced engineering and road test evaluation for internal study, the company says.
The driver and three other employees were on board the bus, and no serious injuries were reported.
“Investigative findings, including on-board telematics, clearly point to the operator being the cause while negotiating an S-turn at a speed significantly over the posted speed limit,” states Wayne Joseph, president of New Flyer.
“Following a complete technical and situational investigation, the cause of incident was determined to be driver error and not a result of any design issue, nor component failure,” he continues. “We are relieved that no one was seriously injured, and we will review our test protocols to ensure safety while continuing to stress our buses to their limits so that when production buses are delivered to customers, they are safe and efficient.”
New Flyer notes it has taken appropriate disciplinary action with the driver.
“Contrary to information on various blogs and postings over the past week regarding this incident, the location of the battery packs was not the cause of the incident,” adds Chris Stoddart, New Flyer’s senior vice president of engineering and customer service.
New Flyer says it places batteries in both the engine compartment and on the roof to distribute loads similar to that of its diesel-hybrid or compressed natural gas buses (of which there are well over 10,000 safely in service across Canada and the U.S.).
Stoddart continues, “Provisions for rooftop battery packs are common across all North American and international bus manufacturers. In fact, heavy-duty transit buses built by other manufacturers with batteries located only under the floor (between the axles) have recently been tested at the FTA Altoona track and have exceeded front axle weight ratings, resulting in a significant limitation to the number of passengers that can be carried on board.”