New Flyer of America Inc. (New Flyer) announced that its Anniston, Ala. facility has successfully completed its first full build of an Xcelsior CHARGE™ zero-emission, battery-electric, heavy-duty transit bus.
The Anniston facility now joins all other New Flyer locations with capability to manufacture the Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric bus, including Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Crookston and St. Cloud, Minn. New Flyer’s Anniston facility is also home to the Vehicle Innovation Center, opened in October 2017 and dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology, specifically in electric and autonomous propulsions. It is the first and only innovation lab of its kind in North America.
The Xcelsior CHARGE™, New Flyer’s next-generation battery-electric bus, debuted at the triennial APTA EXPO in October 2017 in Atlanta. It features the Xcelsior transit bus platform with enhancements of extended-range batteries (made with U.S.-based technology and manufacturing), hill-climbing ability, the highest passenger load-carrying capacity, and ability to recharge with interoperable equipment available from globally recognized charging system suppliers, according to the company. The Xcelsior CHARGE™ is available in 35-, 40-, and 60-foot bus rapid transit articulated models.
“The completion of our first zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE™ transit bus produced start-to-finish at our Anniston facility, is yet another major accomplishment for New Flyer,” said Kevin Wood, sr. VP, manufacturing and facilities, New Flyer of America. “Over the past two years, we invested significantly to establish Anniston as a leader in American bus manufacturing and advanced vehicle innovation. We are proud to bring electrification into the fold, and look forward to growing our footprint of zero-emission, innovative transportation that helps power America’s communities forward, on a safe and environmentally sustainable basis.”
Following the September announcement of a $25 million investment in renovations and expansions at the Anniston facility, and subsequent groundbreaking event commemorated by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, New Flyer opened its Vehicle Innovation Center onsite in October 2017 to mark its evolution in and commitment to battery-electric bus manufacturing in Anniston.
The Vehicle Innovation Center is dedicated to the exploration and advancement of bus and coach technology and serves to:
- Explore and advance bus and coach technology through sustainable research and development, fresh innovation, progressive manufacturing, and bold thinking.
- Foster dialogue through discussion, education, and training on the latest zero-emission and autonomous driving vehicle technologies.
- Engage learning through current and interactive exhibits, simulation and hands-on experiences, and observations.
- Generate energy and commitment to clean air quality, safety, and economic benefits for people, communities, and business.
- Harness the positive influence of collaboration, environmental stewardship, and social change to advance mobility solutions.
The New Flyer Anniston facility (formerly North American Bus Industries), was acquired by New Flyer in 2013 and consists of five buildings that manufacture transit buses from part fabrication, to high-strength frame welding, to final assembly. In 2015, New Flyer invested $20 million to transform the campus to a world-class LEAN manufacturing site capable of producing New Flyer’s Xcelsior® heavy-duty bus platform.
New Flyer currently employs 610 people in Alabama, and is expected to add approximately 60 people to the Anniston team in 2018. The NFI Group has over 50 years of experience in manufacturing zero-emission buses, and employs more American workers than any other U.S. bus manufacturer.