ARBOC Specialty Vehicles will look to expand its product offerings in the growing paratransit market through an emerging partnership with Freightliner Custom Chassis (FCC) and the co-development of a low-floor rear-engine custom chassis.
Through the partnership, which started in fall 2012, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles and FCCC are working through a close, collaborative process to develop a customized, dedicated chassis for ARBOC’s highly anticipated Spirit of Liberty product line.
The new product will be powered by an FCCC rear diesel pusher and feature an innovative low-floor design that will eliminate the step-up over the rear axle and will equip the Spirit of Liberty well for its expected use in a variety of low-floor applications like assisted living facilities, hotel and rental car transport, transit agencies and others.
The low-floor chassis will offer customers a gross vehicle weight of up to 25,900 lbs. and features ARBOC’s spacious low-floor interior throughout the passenger area with no steps and includes oversized wheelchair zones.
“We’ve seen a strong anticipated demand for the Liberty since introducing it in 2012, and we are excited about the new opportunities this new Liberty concept brings through partnership with FCCC,” said Don Roberts, president/CEO of ARBOC Specialty Vehicles. “Working with FCCC helps us ensure not only that we offer the marketplace a superior, high-quality product, but also one backed by a superior dealer service and factory support infrastructure.”
ARBOC and FCCC are working toward having a first prototype of the new Spirit of Liberty model in time for the American Public Transportation Association’s Bus & Paratransit show in Indianapolis in May.
From there, ARBOC and FCCC expect to have a second round of prototypes ready by late 2013 or early 2014 before starting up production soon after full test validation. The Spirit of Liberty line offers three models ranging in body length from 28 feet to 33 feet and seating capacity from 31 up to 37 passengers.