NFI Group Inc., ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, and XL Fleet announced a partnership to electrify ARBOC Freedom low-floor buses with the XL Hybrid (XLH™) electric propulsion system.
The buses are wheelchair-accessible and built on the GM 4500 chassis. They are now available for purchase with an installed XL Hybrid system through the ARBOC North American dealer network.
ARBOC has sold 39 vehicles with the XL Hybrid system installed so far in 2021.
“We are pleased to announce this strategic partnership with XL Fleet to bring hybrid electric propulsion systems to our ARBOC Freedom low-floor buses,” said Paul Soubry, president and CEO, NFI. “As NFI continues to lead the evolution to zero-emission—the ZEvolution—we continue to look for creative solutions to bring the best low- and zero-emission products and solutions to our customers. Our strategy of being propulsion agnostic has served us well, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach for the evolution to zero-emission mobility. This strategic partnership will allow us to bring a new hybrid electric, accessible low-floor solution to operators who want to decrease their operating costs in a sustainable and equitable way.”
As a result of the partnership, 24-foot and 29-foot ARBOC low-floor bus models are available as hybrid electric units. This provides a less expensive option for customers looking to improve fuel economy and lower emissions without disrupting their existing operations.
The XL Hybrid electric system runs alongside the OEM vehicle drivetrain. The system slows the vehicle down during deceleration and provides an electric assist during acceleration throughout normal drive cycles. It also reduces fuel consumption and lowers emissions in standard gas-powered vehicles.
“The bus industry represents a substantial electrification opportunity for XL Fleet, and we are excited to gain access to a great new customer base by partnering with an accessible bus market leader like ARBOC,” said Dimitri Kazarinoff, CEO, XL Fleet. “This partnership allows us to expand our growing suite of products, broaden our customer reach, and bring new and unique solutions to market for bus fleets needing an immediate path forward for their sustainability goals.”
Individual partners in the ARBOC North American dealer network are authorized to sell the XL Fleet electrification system as an available option on their buses.
“The ARBOC Freedom is an innovative low-floor platform allowing riders using wheelchairs and other mobility devices to safely and comfortably get where they need to go. Now, they can do so in a cleaner, greener vehicle,” said Doug Minix, General Manager, ARBOC. “XL Fleet’s innovative hybrid electric upfit technology gives our customers an opportunity to drive more sustainable versions of the ARBOC vehicle lineup without compromising our reliability while enhancing our world-class performance.”