January 2012

Eco-Friendly Vehicle Options Aplenty at BusCon 2011

by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

Environmentally friendly trends continued their progress on the show floor and during educational sessions at the 16th installment of BusCon, held at Chicago's Navy Pier in mid-September. The 115,000-square-foot exhibit space showcased products from nearly 150 exhibitors and touted more than 60 vehicles in a range of sizes from small vans to cutaways to a 45-foot motorcoach. Session topics were also on trend, with topics covering alternative fuels, driver training, securing grant funding and preventing bus fires.

Show floor trends
Some of the exhibitors showcasing green technology included Roush CleanTech, which displayed a propane autogas paratransit vehicle from the Mich.-based Flint Mass Transportation Authority. The vehicle was built on a Ford E-450 chassis, with a 6.8-liter, V10 engine and 41-gallon propane fuel tank.

Along with domestic fueling and cost reduction benefits, propane autogas vehicles emit less carbon dioxide, about 20% less nitrogen oxide, 60% less carbon monoxide and up to 24% less greenhouse gases, when compared with gasoline-fueled vehicles, according to Roush officials.

Krystal Enterprises went the electric route with their KK38 EVolution zero emission all-electric mid-sized shuttle bus. The 38-foot vehicle, built on a commercial International chassis featuring a 230-volt AC continuous primary drive and a 40kW liquid-cooled flux vector motor controller accessory drive, is capable of a 150-mile range under average loads with a maximum speed of 65 mph.

New exhibitor BYD Motors also showcased an all-electric bus. The Chinese company's 40-foot eBus-12 featured solar panels on the rooftop to supplement the non-polluting Fe ­battery.

BusCon regular IC Bus LLC launched its new UC Series Commercial Bus Chassis. The chassis is available with the MaxxForce 7 diesel engine and an Allison automatic transmission equipped with Advanced EGR technology. In addition, IC showcased two buses from its HC Series.

Another notable vehicle debut was Glaval Bus' Legacy model built on the Freightliner S2C chassis with a Cummins engine. The Legacy can seat up to 45 passengers and is available in a variety of ADA-compliant options.

Daimler Vans showcased two Mercedes Benz Sprinter passenger vans, a Freightliner Sprinter Minibus and a Sprinter 3500 cab chassis. All 2011 Sprinters are powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel BlueTEC engine that gets 30% better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine.

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) displayed a pre-owned J4500, which was refurbished.  The company's Select+ Pre-Owned Coach program offers a 60-day/30,000 mile, POC limited warranty and a 210-plus point MCI inspection.

ElDorado National and Supreme Corp. showed their extensive product lines with five vehicles apiece.


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