New Flyer of America Inc. broke ground today on a $25 million building renovation and expansion project in Anniston, Ala. The 36-acre, five-building campus will feature a new Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC), North America’s first innovation lab dedicated to the advancement of bus and coach technology. The VIC will be led in partnership with Motor Coach Industries Inc. (MCI), another U.S. subsidiary of the company, and delivers on the company’s commitment to improving U.S. jobs, infrastructure, manufacturing, and innovation.
“Repairing infrastructure through advanced technology is paramount to America’s competitiveness, safety and prosperity. Through New Flyer’s investment in advanced engineering and manufacturing, we have the potential to dramatically transform the future of public transportation in the U.S.,” said Wayne Joseph, President of New Flyer of America. “We are proud to power sustainable new technologies, collaborations for smart cities and opportunities to connect people to places.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was in attendance to commemorate the groundbreaking, as part of her Listen, Learn, Help, and Lead Tour to assess community needs through roundtable discussions with local government and business leaders. New Flyer’s investment in the expansion was supported by the City of Anniston, State of Alabama, and Alabama Power (Southern Company).
Establishment of the VIC also includes development of an advisory group comprised of industry leaders. The VIC will formally open in October 2017, with the expansion expected to be completed by June 2018. Through ongoing delivery of interactive experiences and collaboration with industry leaders, the VIC will feature a world-class manufacturing lab, exhibit space, and training areas 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; and
- Harness the positive influence of collaboration, environmental stewardship, and social change to advance mobility solutions.
“We are proud to join forces with New Flyer of America in bringing the Vehicle Innovation Center to life,” said Ian Smart, president of Motor Coach Industries. “By leveraging our strengths, we will amplify our industry-leading development of bus and coach technologies, and we look forward to driving American innovation forward with sustainable electric and autonomous solutions.”
Development of the VIC is supported by New Flyer and MCI partners, each contributing interactive learning experiences that highlight New Flyer’s electric and autonomous vehicle technologies. Partners confirmed to date include: Siemens, ABB, A123 Systems, XALT Energy, Parker / Vansco, Valeo (Spheros), Vapor Bus International (WABTEC), Powerex Inc., Ballard Power Systems, Hydrogenics, ChargePoint, Thermo King, EMP, Center for Transportation and the Environment, CALSTART, and Alabama Power. Elements of the VIC will be on display October 9-11 at the tri-annual APTA Expo in Atlanta.
The Anniston, Ala. campus, acquired by New Flyer of America in 2013, manufactures complete transit buses from high-strength frames to final assembly. In 2015, New Flyer invested $20 million to transform the campus into a world-class LEAN manufacturing facility capable of producing New Flyer’s Xcelsior® heavy-duty bus platform. The 2017-2018 expansion will add approximately 76,000 square feet, increasing the Anniston campus space to nearly 380,000 square feet.
The company has over 50 years of experience in manufacturing zero-emission buses (ZEBs); has 24 fabrication, manufacturing, distribution, and service centers across Canada and the U.S.