[IMAGE]MET11News-IC-2.jpg[/IMAGE]IC Bus unveiled the company's first fully integrated small shuttle bus, the AC series, to customers, dealers and members of the media during a special launch event at the Navistar Engine Plant in Melrose Park, Ill., in late September.
"Bus operators shouldn't have to settle for less and that's why we're introducing our first fully integrated small shuttle bus," IC Bus President John McKinney said. "We are launching the AC Series because we believe our customers deserve better."
The new AC Series features a proprietary design, which allows IC to provide everything bus operators need throughout the lifecycle of the bus, including financing, parts, service and warranties.
Promising a 10-year lifecycle — approximately twice as long as similar small shuttles in the industry — and sharing a platform with the commercial-grade International TerraStar truck, which was introduced this past spring, the AC Series features frame rails rated to 80,000 psi, while its full-tilt hood enables unobstructed access to the engine compartment.
The "game changer" vehicle, which was wrapped in support of the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks, also comes with comfort features that will allow unique customization to meet a fleet's needs, from tour and charter operations, hotel or rental car shuttles, paratransit operations, daycare or public transportation.
The AC Series bus is powered by the lightweight, rugged, 220 hp 6.4-liter MaxxForce 7, which delivers efficient fuel economy and low overall cost of ownership, according to IC. It combines a 28,000-psi (1,900-bar) high-pressure common-rail fuel system, dual sequential turbocharger system and a high strength compacted graphite iron (CGI) block. The MaxxForce 7 is matched with an Allison 1000 Series transmission for optimum power output.
"The MaxxForce 7 V-8 provides big power from an efficient, reliable and durable platform," McKinney added. "Customers will find the MaxxForce 7 to be the perfect fit for their operations with true commercial vehicle power, durability and capability."
Aside from seeing IC's latest vehicle, attendees at the event in Melrose Park also got to tour the facility and participate in a ride-and-drive of the new vehicle.
While chatting with the press during the event, McKinney said that the company's customers played a huge role in the ultimate design of the AC Series, with input coming from customer advisory groups and feedback at trade shows.
With limited production beginning this spring and full production slated for this summer, the AC Series bus will be available in 158-, 169- or 195-inch wheelbases and gross vehicle weight ratings of 16,500 lbs. to 19,500 lbs.
Optional equipment includes a 36-inch-by-46-inch top T-slider window; roof or skirt mounted factory-installed IC Air; ADA-compliant wheelchair lifts and a movable rear luggage wall with foldaway seats.
The new vehicle was also showcased at BusCon.