December 2008

BusCon launches new products, boasts record turnout

by METRO Staff

BusCon 2008, held by Bobit Business Media, with METRO Magazine as its lead sponsor, kicked off its thirteenth convention at Chicago’s Navy Pier Sept. 15 to 17, displaying 56 vehicles and hosting more than 150 exhibitors — the most ever to showcase their products during the event.

“America’s Biggest Bus Convention” — BusCon — offered new and green-friendly products to attendees on the show floor, while technical sessions and speakers addressed concerns, including green technology and the impact of fuel price increases.

Product launches — such as the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.’s new hybrid-electric chassis — drew significant attention from attendees. Other debuts taking place on the more than 60,000-square-foot show floor included Goshen Coach’s new GCII Hybrid vehicle. Lift-U, one of many component suppliers launching products, unveiled its reduced-slope, low-floor bus ramp.

A highlight of BusCon 2008 included a keynote address from Frederick L. Potter, executive vice president, Hart Energy Consulting. Potter addressed issues at the forefront of attendees’ minds, such as how factors like increasing fuel prices, rising international oil use, renewable energy and government policies will continue to impact the transportation sector.

“We import 62 percent of our crude oil needs…breaking our demand will require biofuels, clean coal and nuclear energy,” said Potter. He also noted that while hybrid vehicles currently make up only 3 percent of sales in the U.S., support for reducing dependence on foreign oil will continue. The U.S. will reach out to Canada and Brazil as alternative fuel production partners, and that tax credits will be extended for renewable fuel use.

Three separate conference tracks were available to attendees, allowing them to attend a variety of sessions ranging in topic from alternative-fuel vehicle management and fuel efficiency to new software technology. The third annual University Transit Conference, sponsored by ElDorado National and held in conjunction with BusCon, took place on Sept. 17.

Look for expanded coverage of BusCon in the January issue. BusCon 2009 will be held at Chicago’s Navy Pier from Sept. 15 to 16.


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