Products Showcased, Industry News Shared During Inaugural Busworld North America

American Bus Association (ABA) President & CEO Peter Pantuso, left, and Busworld International CEO Vincent Dewaele, cut the ribbon to open Busworld North America 2023, in Detroit.

Busworld travelled across the ocean to Detroit, MI, on February 4-7, for its first event in North America. Together with its partner, the American Bus Association (ABA), Busworld organizers welcomed coach and bus operators and suppliers, from around the United States and Canada, to participate in educational sessions, networking events and to visit a three-day trade floor exhibition.

The following is a rundown of information, provided by Busworld North America, regarding what was on display from the event’s exhibitors.

ABC Companies, the distributor of the Belgian Van Hool motorcoach in the USA and Canada, presented the Van Hool CX35. Within the CX line, they deliver electric coaches in the American market that offer an autonomy of around 200 miles per charge. ABC Companies also carries out transformations on the Ford Transit platform, to offer last mile electric mobility with low operating costs and simple charging infrastructure. On show was a Sunset Ford Transit Van EV.

The MCI J line is recognized for its reliability, in versions such as the J3500 for tourist services, the J4500 Clean Diesel – presented at the show – and the J4500 Charge, an electric coach with a range of more than 230 miles and advanced security features. MCI’s zero emission technology is coming from its partner New Flyer.

— Temsa has a growth strategy in the United States. In two years’ time, they doubled their market share within the private coach segment. They are also considering the Canadian and Latin American market. On show was the TS45, powered by a Cummins X12 engine with an output of 455 hp. This vehicle was completely redesigned during the COVID period. In that same period, Temsa also focused on developing a new and very strong service network in North America.

Mercedes-Benz officially presented its Tourrider at Busworld North America, a 45-foot coach in two versions: Business and Premium. The powertrain is powered by the 13-liter 450HP OM471 engine, coupled to the Allison WTB 500R automatic gearbox. Safety is an important part of the new vehicle, that replaces the Setra range in the region, with its ABA5 braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, emergency braking, ESP stability control, and as an option, auxiliary rear view mirrors, 360-degree cameras and blind spot warning system.

Prevost, a Canadian manufacturer that belongs to the Volvo Group, turns 100 years old in 2024 and celebrates the anniversary with the launch of a luxury coach with advanced safety and performance features: the H3-45. The platform is equipped with the Volvo D13 engine reaching 435HP, complying with the most demanding EPA emission regulations. The Allison 6-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment, as well as a luxury interior with new lighting and exclusive seats. Safety and driver assistance is available, as well as Volvo Connect telematic service.

Ultra Coach Inc. is a manufacturer dedicated to luxury vehicle conversion, based in Georgia. At Busworld, the company presented a proposal beyond the traditional truck-based “cutaway” buses, which are very popular in North America. This 45-foot luxury vehicle, with a capacity for 56 passengers, is developed on the Freightliner platform. The suspension has been modified incorporating a pneumatic system, and the interior was designed to meet the needs of schools and colleges, their usual customers.

According to Dafo, a Swedish company involved in vehicle fire protection, electric and hydrogen buses do not imply bigger fire risks, but do imply different risks. Everyone involved, especially fire fighters and maintenance staff, needs to be trained to know how to handle this type of event. Since batteries produce smoke before they start to burn, it is possible to detect the problem with the right equipment, before the actual fire starts.

Many other components, accessories and services were also presented on the trade floor, such as from Heliox, Hendrickson, Adastec, Bridgestone, Bitzer, Zenobe, Kiel, and Q’Straint.

Hot Topics From Busworld Conference Sessions

The following are key takeaways, from discussions at various Busworld events in Detroit, on what is happening in the North American bus and motorcoach market.

All about the energy transition: By 2024, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) per mile of battery electric buses is estimated to drop below the TCO of diesel buses. It was also reported that the TCO per mile of fuel cell buses will become cheaper than the TCO of battery electric buses by 2030.

Today, the adoption speed of zero emission vehicles is still slow. This has several reasons: the delivery times of the vehicles are very long due to supply chain problems, the necessary infrastructure is missing and there is a lack of electricity and hydrogen production. Companies are also slowly starting to implement energy management systems, even secondary revenue models, such as V2G, are being considered.

Insurance companies do not dispose of adequate data to insure battery electric or hydrogen buses and their charging and fuelling infrastructure. It will take five years before enough data will be collected to make an adequate risk analysis.

All about the North American market situation: Production within the North American bus, motorcoach and school bus market is estimated at 8,100 units per year. It is the 5th biggest market after China, Europe, India and Latin America. Zero emission bus sales in the U.S. and Canada is growing and is estimated to represent 25 percent by 2027 (8 percent within the motorcoach segment). Fuel cell hydrogen buses are considered the best solution for intercity and tourism coaches. A fast rollout of charging and fuelling infrastructure is indispensable.

Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is the fastest growing segment, with a growth of 58.2 percent per year, or 15,000 vehicles in 2021 to over 600,000 vehicles by 2030.

All about digitalization: Autonomous buses are only being implemented in private areas such as university campuses, hospitals, etc. Most bus manufacturers deliver level 2 autonomy buses (ADAS) and are in a test phase with level 4 vehicles.

Mobility is being shaped by the convergence of connected networks, data marketplaces and physical services and structures. Data created and captured by software and IoT become the most important resource, as it enables automation and connectivity. Visit: busworldnorthamerica.org.

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