Pegasus Specialty Vehicles recently announced that Hudson Bus Sales of Cleburne, Texas submitted a purchase order for 200 Pegasus Valkyrie Multifunction School Activity Buses (MFSAB) with the new VIA Motors’ all-electric cutaway chassis cab.
The order is the first commitment from a dealer from the 2,000 chassis commitment Pegasus made with VIA Motors in September 2022.
The VIA chassis is set to begin production in 2024, and the Hudson Bus Sales units will be the first production, purpose-built EV MFSAB.
Pegasus Takes Delivery of first VIA Electric Cutaway Chassis
Pegasus Specialty Vehicles recently received delivery of its first Class 3 electric cutaway chassis cab from VIA Motors. The cutaway is the first in an order of 2,000 that Pegasus placed with VIA in September 2022, valued at more than $170 million. Pegasus will leverage the flexibility of VIA’s commercial products to build electric shuttles, paratransit buses, and Type A school buses.
“We’re really excited to receive this first electric cutaway chassis from VIA and are now working on installing our exciting new Valkyrie model body on it,” said Brian Barrington, president of Pegasus Specialty Vehicles. “We expect to receive our first production units from VIA Motors in 2024.”
A Pegasus Valkyrie Bus body on a VIA cutaway will feature all-wheel drive and industry-leading low floor height and turning radius. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the units will range from 10,000 to 19,500 pounds. The electric motors will generate a continuously rated 400 horsepower and will be able to transport a payload of 4,300 to 11,500 pounds within a range of up to 250 miles.
Pegasus Continues Work on Its Atlas Bus on the Zeus Platform
Pegasus will also be building electric shuttles, paratransit buses, and Type A Atlas school buses using the Zeus Electric Chassis Power Platform, to deliver what it says will be categorically different from the gas or diesel conversions that dominate the market today. The ground-up design of the Zeus Z-19 cab chassis is purpose-built and optimized for bus body installation and system integration.
“Its robust frame rail construction and purpose-built electric chassis make the Z-19 unique right out of the gate,” said Barrington. “Honestly, those two things alone separate what we’re doing from anything else that’s currently on the market.”
Expected to be shown in the summer of 2023 and with all-wheel-drive, independent suspension, and a GVWR of up to 19,500 pounds, a Pegasus Atlas body on a Zeus Z-19 Power Platform will be different from other vehicles in the market.
Its electric motors generate a continuous rated 290 horsepower and 2,040 foot-pounds of torque, enabling it to operate in inclement weather, on challenging topographies and allowing it to transport a payload of up to 8,000 pounds, within an estimated standard range of 150 miles.
The modular battery concept inherent in the Zeus design offers the flexibility needed to fully integrate powering climate systems and power-entry lifts with the chassis systems. The sturdy nature of the Zeus frame rail system, and the resulting market-leading payload, will accommodate larger-sized buses on the same platform.
Barrington recently told METRO Magazine that Pegasus isn’t quite done innovating with either platform.
“We’ve got our production starting and getting close to rolling out the first Zeus really soon, which is exciting for us,” he said. “Now, we are already starting to think beyond electric and plan to have a hydrogen-fueled version hit the market shortly after the electric version does. Probably closer to the end of the year.”
For the hydrogen version of its vehicles, Pegasus recently partnered with Hyperion.
“We think hydrogen is really going to be part of the future and are excited about our partnership with Hyperion,” Barrington explained. “Part of their secret sauce is that they are able to generate hydrogen for significantly less than what is being done now, and they recently debuted a mobile charger at the recent L.A. Auto Show. So, we’re going to rely on them for the infrastructure and making hydrogen and we’ll be able to offer several options of this vehicle built on the same platform with a host of fueling options.”
Atlas Body First to Market on Peterbilt 535 Chassis
Pegasus also recently announced details surrounding the design of its all-new Atlas models mounted on the Peterbilt 535 chassis. At 48 seats, the Peterbilt-mounted bus will offer the most seating of any bus in its class. The advanced, feature-rich Atlas bodies will be built for shuttle, paratransit, and Type A and C school buses.
With their unique body designs and state-of-the-art standard features and options, the new Pegasus vehicles will give bus buyers “greater freedom of choice,” according to the company. The broad availability of Atlas models through the Pegasus dealer network will also enhance competitiveness that should broadly benefit transit and school bus players in much of North America.
Because there are no wheel wells on the Atlas, the seats are able to be fully adjustable, providing users with greater flexibility. Seats from IMMI come with lap belt restraints standard, and seats with three-point restraints are optional.
The Atlas body’s generous 92-inch width allows for 14-inch-wide aisles, promoting easier maneuverability for children and drivers. The Atlas’ spacious 75-inch standard ceiling height can also be extended to 78 inches if desired.
Barrington added that all of the vehicles are ideal for high-mileage situations.
“When we designed the body of our vehicles, we decided to turn the yellow bus white for commercial applications, which includes wider entrance doors and a sturdy body that will hold up to the wear-and-tear,” Barrington said. “Our idea is that these vehicles will be putting in up to 50,000 miles a year or more and the body will hold up to the abuse it’s going to receive. Obviously, with this thing, the chassis will hold up as well.”