A growing focus toward sustainability, both on the show floor and at operations themselves, was a key theme at the 2014 BusCon Expo, which was held for the first time at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis this week.

At least six electric vehicles, ranging from passenger vans to cutaway buses to a mid-sized transit bus and a trolley bus, were featured both on the show floor and at a special ride-along held in conjunction with the show.

Complete Coach Works (CCW), which won Bus

Con’s Best Green Initiative award, featured a converted all-electric trolley bus that was used at the University of California, Riverside. The 33.5-foot trolley uses the same technology as CCW’s ZEPS transit bus and has a range of 85 miles with a charge time of 3.5 hours.

BYDs Mid-e 26-foot bus.

BYDs Mid-e 26-foot bus.

BYD showcased its 26-foot Mid-d bus, featuring its iron-phosphate battery with a 182.5 kWh battery capacity, an AC synchronous motor, and a ZF low-floor axle/BYD in-wheel traction motor axle chassis, while Amiertrans introduced its Eco-Charge coach, which transports up to 12 passengers and features custom built-to-order options to the mid-size vehicle market.

Additional electric vehicle debuts included Phoenix Motorcars’ Zeus (Zero Emissions Utility Shuttle), Zenith Motors’ Electric Shuttle Van and VIA Motors’ shuttle van.  

There were also plenty of new propane unveilings on the BusCon show floor as well.

ICOM North America LLC is partnering with Winnebago Industries for the installation and distribution of its Icom JTG II bi-fuel and mono-fuel liquid propane autogas (LPG) injection system in Winnebago’s Metro Link buses, with a version of the bus on display for the first time anywhere at the show.

The partnership, in conjunction with Winnebago Metro Link North American master distributor Metro Worldwide LLC, will allow work-ready, alternatively-fueled buses to be delivered direct to dealers and end users. Metro Worldwide will also offer Icom liquid propane autogas conversions for existing bus fleets, as well as full-line sales, service, installation and warranty services.

Meanwhile, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), which won the BusCon award for Best Vehicle or Chassis, showcased a propane-autogas concept version of its popular S2C chassis.

The S2C LPG concept FCCC showcased at BusCon is powered by the “PIthon,” an 8.0 LPG engine from Powertrain Integration with a factory-installed CleanFuel USA LPG system. The 60-gallon, between-the-rails LPG tanks can provide a range of up to 300 miles.

Key features and benefits, of the S2C LPG concept, include a quieter-running engine; reduced maintenance cost and downtime; significantly reduced fuel costs for buses in continuous-running applications; and excellent cold-weather starting and faster warm-up times.

Additional BusCon booth winners, included XL Hybrids for Best Booth Display (300 sq. ft. or Smaller); Allied Specialty Vehicles for Best Booth Display (400 sq. ft. or Larger); Freedman Seating Co. for Best New Product or Service; and REI for Best On-Site Marketing.

Further interest in propane usage was generated by the educational portion of BusCon, during the “Implementing Propane Autogas Vehicles” case study, presented by Lynn McLean of Mich.-based Flint Mass Transportation Authority.

McLean was joined by ROUSH CleanTech’s Todd Mouw and AmeriGas’ Warren Patterson. The group provided an overview of the technology itself, while also focusing heavily on MTA’s real-life experience with the alternative fuel, including the initial challenges it faced as well as the efficiencies they’ve found through the transition.

Additionally, the Propane Education & Research Council and METRO recognized six top fleets for their recent adoptions of propane, during BusCon’s Breakfast Awards Ceremony, which also included the Mid-Sized Bus Manufacturers Association honoring the top 10 transit fleets with the most mid-sized vehicles in operation.

Meanwhile, the Keynote Address at the Opening General Session entitled, “The Mental Edge,” featured Olympic Performance Psychology Consultant Dr. Craig Manning, who discussed how high performance is really not difficult to achieve if you just understand critical laws of the mind and how to adhere to them, meaning the key to success in life is in the acquisition of skills; not just physical skills, but mental, emotional and even spiritual skills.

Dr. Manning’s key takeaway is to always focus on the positive rather than the negative as a way to continue to grow and be successful in all aspects of your life.

Stay tuned for more coverage in METRO’s Nov/Dec issue.

BusCon returns to Indiana in 2015, from Sept. 28 to 30.

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