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FROM

FYI

Spring 2019

NEW FRONTIERS AT MCI

TRAINING CAMP

MAINTENANCE MATTERS

Features the New J-Series, AllAccessible MCI D45 CRT LE and All-Electric Around the Corner.

Training Schedule through October 2019.

How, why and when to do your next wheel alignment.

© 2019 Motor Coach Industries International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


FROM

FYI

IT’S GO TIME WITH MCI

Meet our quality line up of coach models that are redefining the customer experience. Learn why MCI’s service support is the best business with the broadest, most experienced best trained Technical Solution Managers in the field to help you. Learn how Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), an option our J-Series coaches, can reduce collision incidents and costs. Get advice on maintenance. It’s all here in this must-read issue of FYI from MCI.

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It’s Go Time!

MCI D45 CRT LE

MCI J4500

MCI J3500

Reimagining accessibility

Leading with luxury

J-Series style for smaller groups

Leading innovation that puts you first. MCI models keep you moving ahead, starting with our industry-leading J-Series, now featuring two great models: the J4500 and the compact new J3500. Both offer best-in-class interiors, trim, lighting, and available passenger space, plus design improvements including electric cooling fans and swing-out radiators. Welcoming a new era of accessibility, the all-new D45 CRT LE features a patented Low Entry Vestibule that more easily accommodates multiple passengers with mobility devices. Other MCI innovations include ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) featuring collision mitigation upgrades to detect and stop for stationary objects and more; along with a new optional 360-degree camera. And looking to 2020, our CHARGE long-range battery-electric models are already setting benchmarks in testing. Plus, you can count on MCI’s leadership in parts, service, support and training. From the tried and true to the bold and new, we are Reliability Driven.

mcicoach.com 3

CHARGE electric models, coming in 2020


CONTENTS Spring 2019

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NEW FRONTIERS AT MOTORCOACH INDUSTRIES

MAINTENANCE MATTERS THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW

28

TRAIN


38

ING CAMP

HIGH-TECH SAFETY SYSTEMS: HOW ADAS WORKS ON THE MCI J-SERIES


THE NEW J-SERIES ALL-ACCESSIBLE MCI D45 CRT LE ALL-ELECTRIC AROUND THE CORNER Product innovation has shifted into high gear at MCI with even more luxury and workhorse reliability, with breakthrough accessibility first and followed by all-electric targeted for 2020. It’s nothing short of the most exciting and diverse product lineup in our 86-year history. Here’s a review of what’s new: The 2019 J4500: Building on an award-winning 2018 interior redesign offering best-in-class legroom and a maximum comfortable 60-seat passenger configuration, the industry’s best seller has added maintenance and energy-saving improvements in 2019. The latest J4500 now offers an all-new swing-out cooling module and e-Fan system that improves fuel economy while reducing maintenance time. Later this year, the J4500 will come equipped with the Cummins X12 engine that has a more fuel-efficient weight of 2,150 lbs. and up to 455 hp (339 kW) and the Detroit Diesel DD13 will continue as an option.

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The 2019 J3500: Welcome to the J-Series Family. MCI’s all-new two-axle, 35-foot coach has an interior experience to match the J4500. Featuring best-in-class legroom for up to 44 passengers and baggage bay and enclosed parcel rack space well beyond the nearest competitor, the J3500 offers – a nimble turning radius of just under 33 feet for top maneuverability and a high level of commonality with the J4500 that will be familiar to both drivers and mechanics. The J3500 is already sporting the names of Tuscaloosa Charters, Gulf Coast Tours, Arrow Stage Lines and Tri-State Travel – the first to take delivery of this flexible, marketbuilding new coach option from MCI. The MCI D45 CRT LE: It’s called the Future of Commuting for a reason. In one of the most inclusive design processes in motor coach history, the revolutionary MCI D45 CRT LE Commuter Coach was launched in late 2017 with a next-generation, patent-pending Low Entry (LE) Vestibule and curb-level automatic ramp designed to reduce dwell times for all passengers, including those with mobility devices. Working with longtime design partner Designworks, A BMW Group Company and leading U.S. advocacy groups, this revolutionary new coach joins the fleets of Alberta’s Bow Valley Regional Transit, Minnesota’s SouthWest Transit and a major Silicon Valley employer’s private transit network in 2019. The latter customer, part of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas for private employee transit, has outfitted their MCI D45 CRT LE models with bike racks, flat-screen monitors and onboard workspace areas to serve workers throughout the Bay Area.

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Coming next. MCI’s will add a high-floor variant of the newly reimagined model featuring a traditional wheelchair lift option with demos planned for later this year. Legacy D-Series models, including the industry-leading D4500 Commuter Coach, will continue production through 2022. MCI All-Electric: MCI is entering the all-electric coach marketplace in 2020 with more than 50 years of zero-emission innovation behind it. Propulsion technology from sister company New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric low floor transit buses will provide the background for MCI’s first all-electric models – the J4500e CHARGE and the MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE. In test phases now, the J4500e CHARGE successfully met highway speed and reliability targets in late 2018 and recently completed its cold weather testing at Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, where annual snowfall averages 220 inches. Please speak to your MCI sales representatives to get the latest information on these new product developments or click here for product brochures. 

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Experience accessibility on a whole new level Newly reimagined, the MCIÂŽ D45 CRT LE for Commuter Rapid Transit warmly welcomes all passengers, creating an innovative low-entry vestibule with a ramp and adjoining seating area designed with mobility device users in mind. Beyond game-changing accessibility features to speed entry and exit, the all-new model offers modern good looks and the amenities that commuters have come to expect from MCI, including comfortable forward-facing seats, power outlets, parcel racks and Wi-Fi options, plus the sturdy reliability that has long made the MCI commuter coach the leading choice for commuter express.

Reliable. Rapid. Revolutionary. Get it soon in 100% electric Learn more at future-of-commuting.com 7


I N C A S E YO U M I S S E D I T.

THE MCI

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MCI has brought the signature luxury of the J-Series to a 35-foot model

Intimate luxury The J3500 accommodates 40 passengers with exceptional legroom and up to 44 comfortably, and Maitland says the J-Series’ accommodations will make the coach a welcome entrant into the marketplace of midsized vehicles. Furthermore, Maitland says the “coach experience” is enhanced by the J3500’s ride quality and passenger comfort as compared to cutaway shuttles and mini-buses. “It offers a ‘coach’ experience as opposed to a ‘bus’ experience,” he says. “Many operators servicing smaller groups have relied on minibuses or cutaways with shorter lifespans. The stainless steel, semimonocoque construction of the J-Series provides an approximately 15 to 20-year lifespan.” That construction also features single-piece, thick-walled stainlesssteel tubing for enhanced strength, as well as durable, sustainable electrical systems with less wiring and fewer modules. The 2019 J3500 features the same interior enhancements and space maximization which MCI introduced to the J4500 in 2018. Maitland says that the J3500, like its big brother, features best-inclass legroom and floor space. This is due in part to the J-Series’ recently remodeled lavatory and engine air-intake. By shifting the position and layouts of these two features, MCI’s engineers were able to maximize floor space and, in the case of the air intake, provide a quieter ride.

The new J3500 by Motor Coach Industries (MCI) introduces a breadth of versatility and flexibility to the manufacturer’s already impressive J-Series, now allowing smaller groups to experience luxury normally reserved for a 45-foot coach. Brent Maitland, MCI Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning, says MCI watched for several years as the motorcoach market developed a need for 35-foot vehicles. The company saw numerous requests from charter, tour and limousine operators for a smaller coach with parts commonality to MCI coaches they already owned. Finally, under New Flyer’s leadership and investment in 2017, Maitland says MCI was able to put resources behind the development of the J3500.

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For passengers, the coach features a new larger rear-transom window and an optional rear-window for better passenger viewing. The redesigned interior includes the best-inclass parcel rack capacity that has always been synonymous with J-Series coaches. “This coach has the best ‘payload’ in the industry,” Maitland says. “It can carry, with all other factors being equal, more passengers and more luggage. With the enhanced efficiency from the maximized interior space, operators will either get more passengers, or more passenger legroom than from the vehicle’s closest competitor.” Interior enhancements are offered at two specifications: MCI’s Preferred Spec, the well-equipped stock unit; and MCI’s HighSpec, which includes pre-determined option package upgrades for trim, seating and lighting. All trim levels have color-coordinated interior themes, with a choice of Amaya A-220, GT or Kiel 2050 seating. MCI offers three trim level packages for the J3500: Blues, Lounge and Tech. These interior color schemes offer blue, brown and black, and grey tones, respectively. Of course, MCI is glad to build a coach to a customer’s specific tastes and branding requirements. As it did with the J4500, MCI worked with Designworks, a BMW Group Company, to upgrade the coach’s interior aesthetics – beginning with the new spiral stairway and handrail with optional illumination for a safer entry. As passengers continue into the coach, their passageway is illuminated by the J-Series’ reconfigured aisle lighting. The coach features standard indirect LED ceiling lights, spotlights and entryway lights. The High Spec features additional parcel rack trim lights, window side lighting and programmable RGB colored lighting. With the RGB feature, operators can adjust the coach’s interior lighting color schemes between white, red, blue, green, yellow, magenta and cyan. In addition to the RGB lighting feature, standalone options include an entrance door LED welcome light with customer specific branding capability and temperedglass roof hatches.

Driving in style MCI fully redesigned the driver’s cockpit to match the J4500’s recent enhancements. The new ergonomic dashboard keeps switches within reach and maximizes gauge visibility. The coach features recessed scissor-style front visors for maximum roadway visibility, and MCI’s engineers lowered the dash for improved sightlines. busride.com | BUSRIDE

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MCI’s new swing-out cooling module with an electric e-Fan system (shown here on the MCI J4500 coach) provides greater coach reliability, drastically reduces service time and improves fuel efficiency.

In addition to being supported by the full-service network of NFI Parts, the J3500 is backed by MCI’s standard Super-60 limited warranty. It extends coverage on many of the coach’s components up to five years or 500,000 miles and expands coverage on others. “MCI stakes its reputation on reliability,” Maitland says. “We have the industry-leading warranty, as well as the parts and componentry distribution network to keep these buses running for a long time.”

The J3500’s new, 12-inch Thin-Film Transistor instrument panel display from Continental is easy to read and has enhanced on-screen diagnostics with real-time system status messages. Maitland says the driver’s cockpit is best-in-class in functionality, ergonomics and aesthetics featuring improved visibility and more driver legroom. Because of its shorter length, the J3500 also has a tighter turning radius than any other MCI vehicle and is highly maneuverable in tight city environments. The J3500’s efficient EPA 2017 Cummins L9 engine is cooled by an allelectric e-Fan system, improving reliability as well as fuel efficiency. The L9 engine is coupled to the same Allison Gen V B500, 6-speed automatic transmission found in J4500 series coaches.

The J3500 hits the road on MCI’s 85th Anniversary MCI has been touring the United States and Canada with its signature Reliability Rallies this summer and offering operators the first chance to test-drive the J3500. One such operator is Andrew Hillard, president of Tri-State Travel. Tri-State Travel, founded in 1939, operates a fleet consisting entirely of J4500 coaches by MCI. The company services Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin from two locations. Hillard, a third-generation owner-operator, says he is expecting delivery of two J3500 coaches in early 2019. He plans to use the vehicles primarily for tour and contract work with local colleges, universities and high schools. Tri-State Travel conducts many day-trips for school sports teams, which don’t require a full 56-passenger bus, and the J3500 will allow him to provide a better price point. “Schools are definitely looking for smaller vehicles,” Hillard says. “The J3500 is a perfect match for basketball, soccer and cross-country teams – because if the customer can get just a little bit of cost savings, that’s huge for college business.” Hillard says the commonality with his currently fleet of coaches made the purchase of two J3500s an easy choice. Maitland adds that this natural progression, from J4500 to J3500, is exactly what MCI was aiming for when designing the new coach. “It was important for us to develop from the J-Series platform,” Maitland says, “because the J4500 is the industry’s leading full-sized luxury motorcoach, and we intend for the J3500 to be its counterpart in every respect”.

Safety first Maitland says that safety is always the top priority for MCI’s engineers, and to that end they outfitted the J3500 with a standard tire pressure monitoring system, automatic fire suppression, electronic stability control and three-point passenger seatbelts. The coach also features an optional 360° camera system and nextgeneration adaptive cruise control/collision mitigation technology from Bendix. The new Wingman Fusion system adds Stationary Vehicle Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition functionality to the features included in the previous generation Wingman Advanced collision mitigation/adaptive cruise system from Bendix. “The Bendix Fusion system’s functionalities keep the J3500 in a leadership position when it comes to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems," Maitland says.

Unparalleled service Because of the J3500’s commonality with the J4500 in electrical, HVAC, suspension, frame, body and brake components, operators who already own MCI vehicles won’t have the need to carry unique spare parts. 4

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Reprinted with permission from busride.com

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WATCHED ANY GOOD VIDEOS LATELY?

HERE ARE SOME SHARP ONES FROM MCI AND OUR VERY CREATIVE CUSTOMERS If a picture is worth a thousand words, one well-shot video can dominate the whole conversation. Recently, we’ve been honored to see our model lineup in customer videos that show our coaches in eye-catching settings around the country.

Take a look at these:

Go Transit: The Toronto-based bus system dubs our Commuter Coach “The Go Bus” and makes it look positively electrifying.

Prime Limo: The dynamic Dallas-based luxury

ground transportation company will have you dancing in the aisles with this video featuring their very first J4500.

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Arrow Stage Lines: This leading U.S. charter

company put a beautifully appointed J4500 front and center in this picturesque entry.

Video is also taking a more important role at MCI as we tell our story to customers. Our recent efforts include:

MCI J4500e: The future in battery-electric

comes alive in this video documenting the J4500e CHARGE test phases.

MCI D45 CRT LE: Our inspiring look at MCI’s most accessible coach ever.

Passenger Safety: MCI’s suit of safety technologies including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as on option on the J-Series coaches are outlined and on view here. 

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02.2019 chauffeurdriven.com

BUILDING BEAUTIFUL COACHES TOGETHER: HERMES AND MCI

5 SIMPLE MARKETING TIPS FOR 2019 (AND BEYOND) MAXIMIZING YOUR RECOVERY FROM NOT-AT-FAULT ACCIDENTS

SETTING THE COMPANY CULTURE FOR A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS

ABASER LIMOUSINE SERVICES: YOUR GUIDE TO BARCELONA

NEGATIVE REVIEWS DON’T HAVE TO BE BAD BUSINESS 2 UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO MAKE MONEY Q&A WITH SANDY & DAN MILLER OF CAREY INTERNATIONAL CD’S AUSTIN RETREAT OFFERS ONE-OF-A-KIND EDUCATION AND FUN OMNI HOTEL DOWNTOWN • MAY 5-8, 2019

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BUILDING

BEAUTIFUL COACHES TOGETHER:

Hermes and MCI BY SUSAN ROSE

Vice President Rocio Sanchez and President/ CEO Jorge Sanchez with their MCI J4500 coach at Coors Field, home of MLB’s Colorado Rockies

W

ith more than 300 days of sunshine annually and picturesque natural beauty of the Rockies framing the city—a gateway to many of the best ski resorts in the country— it’s no wonder that Denver is such a popular destination for groups and events. It’s this group work that has become Hermes Worldwide Transportation’s largest and steadiest growing sector recently, and one of the key reasons for expanding the company’s fleet to include its largest vehicles yet. For Hermes President/CEO Jorge Sanchez, jumping into motorcoaches was a logical decision in the evolution of his 11-year-old company, but one that was three years in the making. From a one-sedan company to a fleet of 35 (and counting) today, Hermes certainly didn’t lack for group work or diversity of clients. Trusted motorcoach partners handled those runs. What they didn’t have, however, was the parking space to accommodate the coaches he wanted to purchase. Once they moved into a new facility in 2016, all of the obstacles were lifted. “We have always been in the group events business both locally and globally. Our clients liked all the other vehicles that we provided them, so they asked if we would consider purchasing our own coaches. We acquired our first two in July 2017—it was all client driven. I wish I had done it two years earlier,” Sanchez says. He was able to take the time to research other manufacturers and find the best coaches that would not only work for his fleet, but also offered the amenities that a luxury transportation service needed. Trusted industry referrals led him to MCI’s Vice President of Sales Southwest Dave Dorr. “I met Dave Dorr at my first UMA show and eventually met Dave Johnson in finance and they were both just very easy to work with,” says Sanchez. “They were very accommodating, explained each step of the process

to me, went over all the features and options—they didn’t steer me wrong. They showed me some additional features I might benefit from. It was a very smooth sales process—I never felt pressured. It’s one of the easier transactions I’ve had to do.” Dorr says that after getting to know Sanchez and what Hermes’ clients wanted, he recommended the J4500 bus, one of the builder’s best-selling coaches for the luxury transportation market, thanks to numerous features and upgrades that are tailored for high-end customers. “This is a growing sector for MCI, and the J coach offers more customization that our luxury transportation customers are looking for,” says Dorr. “Jorge runs a high-end corporate service, and he seemed to be focused on offering a particular type of experience for his customers, so this coach allowed him to do that.” “When I saw the mock up with my logo on the bus, it was just an attractive vehicle. But when I actually saw the finished coach in person, their design with our logo just meshed really well,” says Sanchez. “Our brand is very impor-

L to R: Jorge Sanchez, Group Coordinator Adrienne Brown, Reservations Manager Lucinda Sanchez, Client Relations Manager Alysha Moore, and Rocio Sanchez inside their MCI J4500 coach

tant to us, so we invest a lot of financial resources to keep the vehicle running mechanically sound, but want it to be aesthetically appealing as well.” The J4500 is a coach that is aimed at the luxury market with accents like a streamlined and frameless window exterior, modern LED lighting, and an exclusive curved staircase into the bus. The first two coaches that Sanchez purchased in 2017 were black on black with seating for up to 56, plenty of luggage space, and a restroom for the long-haul trips that the coaches are regularly used for. Beyond parking, adding coaches to the fleet impacted the Hermes

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team in another way: training. Hermes already owned and operated minicoaches and had a handle on the stringent requirements of DOT compliance, but the team had to learn how to properly book and sell motorcoach transportation. “We spend more time training staff. Our coaches are booked for multiple days and we have to allow for that deadhead time back, as well as time to clean and service the buses, so it’s a different way of thinking,” he says. He says that the coach market grew to 27 percent of his business in 2018, and is continuing to grow. When Amazon was scouting its additional headquarters location in the Denver area, the world’s largest retailer used Hermes buses. Hermes also recently handled a 1,500-person group move through an event at Gaylord Rockies, a local resort. Denver-based work, however, is just half of Hermes’ group work: Sanchez says that multi-day trips for camps, youth groups, collegiate events, and other tours outside of Colorado are consistently part of his reservations. “With our proximity to the Rocky Mountains and states like Arizona, Utah, Kansas, and Oklahoma,

the MCI team has been very supportive when we’ve had an issue, no matter how small, and they’ve patiently walked us through it. They are also very good about getting us parts quickly.” Dorr says that MCI takes after-sales support seriously and offers more than 450 online classes (also via the MCI app) to its customers’ service team free of charge through its MCI Academy. Mechanics can earn certifications as they complete courses. Periodic webinars will cover special topics or provide in-depth training on a specific issue. Additional in-person courses at various levels of competency are held regularly at MCI’s training facility in Louisville, Ky. “MCI also just launched our Motorcoach Technician Apprenticeship Program in January 2019, which is certified through the Department of Labor (USDOL),” says Dorr. “I believe it’s the first of its kind to be offered by any coach manufacturer and is comparable to ASE certification for mechanics. It’s our way of helping to educate our customers.” Techs completing the program—which runs over five years or less—will earn all MCI Academy system qualifications, certificates, diplomas, and a USDOL Journeyman certificate. Registration is now available at mciacademy.com. Sanchez says that he’s already ordered his fifth and sixth MCI coach, which will be delivered in late spring and just in time for the busy summer months. Hermes’ J4500 MCI coach at the Denver State Capitol

L to R: CSR and Coach Coordinator Trisha Birdsong, Dispatcher Cindy Flores, Group Coordinator Adrienne Brown, Rocio Sanchez, Operations Manager Robert Etchells, Jorge Sanchez, Chauffeur Manager Katie Edwards, Customer Sales Representative Michaela Sanchez, Business Development Manager Julian Sanchez, Reservations Manager Lucinda Sanchez, and Dispatcher Connie Jackson at the Hermes headquarters in Denver

we’re in a nice central location that allows us to go to these places. Owning these buses has really opened up the doors to diversify our client base even further,” he says. “We’re quickly trying to capitalize on the new verticals that have been presented to us. We recently completed three very distinguished and high-level contracts and we’re finalizing a deal with our first professional sports team. We also didn’t realize that there would be such a strong market for wedding work with the coaches.” When Sanchez contacted Dorr about adding a third bus to his fleet last year, he was pleasantly surprised to find even more amenities than were available on previous years’ models. Upgrades for 2018 included an available rear window and glass roof escape hatch for more natural light, 360-degree camera system for maximum visibility around the bus exterior, Bendix adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, soft and durable Amaya Sigma seating, and RGB changeable interior lighting. Dorr says that a longtime partnership with Designworks—a BMW company— helped with the some of the more luxurious and aesthetically interesting touches. “When we were going to purchase coach number three, MCI came to us with a lot of nice enhancements that conveyed that luxury feel rather than just a big box,” says Sanchez, who also opted for the available programmable puddle lights that can display the customer’s logo as they enter the bus and 110V/USB ports at every seat. Because any vehicle downtime is lost revenue, and the nearest MCI authorized service center is based in Los Angeles, Sanchez keeps a full-time mechanic and maintenance team on hand to keep his coaches in top shape. Coaches obviously require more detailing time than sedans and SUVs, but Sanchez says that they have it down to a science. When their coaches require an expert, he says that MCI is always available. “After-sales support is very good,” says Sanchez. “They regularly check in and help on site. When we have a problem, they make the commitment to ensure it’s addressed. My mechanics have told me that

“MCI is really paying attention and listening to what our market is looking for and what we think is important. They realize it’s not just a vehicle, but one that can be functional, pretty, and provide all the amenities you want. The amenities and safety features were reassuring because it’s a big investment—I want to do all I can to ensure that my team and passengers are comfortable and safe.” [CD]

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NFI Parts keeps the industry moving The newly-branded company provides single parts point-of-purchase for the NFI Group’s expansive family of transit and coach vehicles.

Supply Chain Solutions In today’s world, NFI Parts™ customers are looking for solutions that help to eliminate costly steps in the parts purchasing and inventory management processes. These solutions range from price lists and fill rate commitments, to daily delivery from dedicated stock. “We believe that customers are looking for unique solutions to their parts supply and NFI Parts has demonstrated the ability to create and support those solutions,” said Dewsnup. Specific to MCI, there are now nine Regional Parts Representatives in the field supporting MCI coaches with two new team members added in Canada. And all MCI Service Center locations include NFI Parts supply with parts pick up availability for local customers.

Training Customer training remains a major focus for NFI Parts, thanks to the award winning, ASE accredited, MCI Academy and its online Learning Management System (LMS). MCI debuted the LMS (Learning Management System) in 2015, and it is now the foundation for the MCI Academy to combine all training platforms into a progressive curriculum leading to certificates and diplomas. Currently, more than 4,000 customer users select from more than 400 courses in the MCI Academy LMS library on major coach components and systems. As students, they typically schedule their own time to study online in their shops. LMS maintains an account and transcript for NFI Parts expands its parts offerings for purchase online and offers support with expert customer service each student and documents staff at its call center. all training activity. MCI operators can then track each employee through customized reports. MCI Academy currently includes systems qualifications programs, certificate programs, diploma programs, continuing education programs, and on-site training. Dewsnup said the course offering will continue expanding in the years to come.

To make access to parts even more convenient for customers, all MCI Service Center locations include a parts pick-up window. At the MCI Service Center in Des Plaines, IL., Francisco Ortiz (far left) and Jorge Becerra, MCI parts associates, assist Ruben Salgado, founder and owner of Tours & Charters, Salgado Inc.

After 18 months of planning, the MCI parts organization completed its integration into NFI Parts in November 2018, creating a more comprehensive parts offering and larger distribution network to improve customer service. Now, NFI Parts conducts business for both New Flyer and MCI parts customers. “All parts purchases for the NFI Group family of brands will now flow through one parts company,” said Brian Dewsnup, NFI Parts President. “Customers don’t have to manage multiple phone numbers, email addresses, purchase orders, transactions or checks.” According to Dewsnup, partsstore.mcicoach.com remains the online home of all MCI Parts. By the unification, NFI Parts now meets customer’s needs with 15 warehouse locations throughout North America, along with three administrative hubs in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Delaware, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Meeting customer needs Dewsnup said one of the goals of NFI Parts is to conduct business in the method that works best for a given customer, whether that’s inperson, telephone, fax, e-mail, or on the web. “We want to make it easy for our customers,” Dewsnup said. “We are in a unique position to support our customers,” he said. “Smaller, local distributors often don’t have online ordering capability nor do they have our breadth of stock. Many of our customers want to do business online, but they also want the flexibility of picking up the phone and talking to someone that knows what they’re doing.” To that end, the company will continue to expand parts offerings for purchase online in 2019, and offer support with expert staff at its call center. Much of the work completed so far has been integrating the business processes of two industry leaders – New Flyer Parts in the transit bus industry, and MCI Parts in the motorcoach industry. The integration sets the foundation for future operational improvements and growth.

Focusing on 2019 Dewsnup said that the company is focusing on “the basics” in 2019. “Within NFI Group, we have industry leading products with the MCI J series, D Series and New Flyer Xcelsior models. Our team supports these vehicles with the best service, support, parts and training. For us at NFI Parts that means building upon the successes of New Flyer Parts and MCI Parts and setting new industry standards for product availability, customer service, training, and publications. “We’re aligning with our customers, getting to know them even better,” he said. “ As we better understand their operations, we will better know how to support their success.”

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Reprinted with permission from busride.com

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MCI TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS MANAGER EXPERTISE AVAILABLE WHEN AND WHERE CUSTOMERS NEED IT MOST A SERVICE FORCE IN THE FIELD

At MCI, we know that the purchase of any new or pre-owned coach is a major investment. And after more than 85 years in business, we know our reputation is as much about reliable service as it is about Reliability Driven coaches. It’s about being there for the customer whenever they need us. That’s why MCI Technical Solution Managers (TSMs) throughout North America, and MCI’s on-call technical experts are available 24 hours a day by calling 800-241-2947. MCI’s technical experts fit an enviable profile in the motor coach industry: an average of 20 or more years of practical experience in heavy duty coach maintenance.

Steve Batho

MCI Director of Technical Services

That level of expertise at the start of a call makes all the difference. “When a customer contacts MCI, they can expect someone with an immediate understanding of their problem or question,”

says Steve Batho, MCI Director of Technical Support, who leads a 51-member service team that includes 22 TSMs. “If a situation can’t be resolved by an MCI technical representative by phone, MCI’s regional TSMs are the experts who take immediate ownership of customer’s problem or request and sees it through to solution.” In 2017, MCI realigned its field service and technical support operations to an OEM function. The change provided a new, open line of communication between field service teams and MCI engineers and quality team members at the factory.

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To strengthen this model even further, Patrick Scully, MCI’s longtime Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, added Field Service and MCI Service Centers to his responsibilities at the beginning of this year. The alignment now brings all customer-facing operations from sales to field service support under one group, and now coupled with a technical issue factory escalation process, completes an organizational structure that provides the widest level of company expertise to assist customers with quick resolution to technical service matters, enhancing the customer experience overall. “We see our total customer service model helping us connect with our operators on a range of issues throughout the lifespan of their vehicles,” said Scully. “If an individual customer or public transit agency has mechanical problems in the garage MCI Technical Solutions Manager or on the road, we can solve them quicker than ever. If they Tony Amaducci explains systems need better training for their technicians, MCI Academy is here on the J3500 coach with online and onsite education. And if they have questions about any aspect of their business, we’re here to serve them with more than eight decades of industry know-how. At MCI, we’re making every aspect of our knowledge and experience available to our customers in new and better ways.” The MCI Technical Solutions Managers Ground Game MCI TSMs are out in the field mainly in non-emergency situations helping customers maximize coach up time through instruction for maintenance staffs and drivers. TSMs also provide onthe-ground new coach orientations at delivery and offer support for post-delivery add-on components and system installations such as Electronic Logging Devices, to make sure they’re working compatibly with other coach systems. TSMs are also on call to troubleshoot the toughest technical issues and draft field reports directed to management and factory engineers. “TSMs are assigned to a region and work cooperatively with MCI sales and NFI Parts representatives,” said Batho. “We take a team approach to all field issues that gets the right people involved for quick resolution.” All TSMs are also enrolled in the renowned Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accredited MCI Academy earning system certifications and MCI master-level proficiency. East-Coast TSM Thomas Renae is the first master graduate from the group, with South-West based TSMs David Dunn and Carlos Ponce Hernandez to follow after completing a few more courses. Tim Nash, Regional Manager of Western Region TSMs, who holds automotive and diesel degrees from Arizona Automotive Institute, and brings 30-year career experience to his role at MCI, said: “Most of our TSM’s have been in the industry for many years. Many have managed shops and intimately understand our customer’s needs. Continued technical training, and the connection we have with customers are big competitive benefits. MCI brings customers the most complete support package with ownership of equipment. We are passionate about our customers’ success and work hard to make sure they are pleased with our coach models and overall support.” Added Batho, “Our TSMs are true professionals. They are the face and voice of MCI service that’s always available to our customer, and we have to be the best at it.” Learn more at www.mcicoach.com/service-support. 

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M A I N T E N A N C E M AT T E R S

Tim Nash, MCI Regional Technical Solutions Manager

MAINTENANCE MATTERS THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW: HOW, WHY AND WHEN TO DO YOUR NEXT WHEEL ALIGNMENT

MCI often receives calls from operators asking why their coach tires are wearing oddly or faster than expected. The reasons are generally as varied as the operators themselves. For example, a line-haul or charter operation will generally see different types of tire wear than a transit operation; tires on over-the-road coaches run hotter due to speed and the types of road surface, while a transit coach will see more scuffing and sidewall issues due to more frequent turning. If you pay close attention, the tires will tell you a lot about your coach's alignment. Understanding that tires will wear only where the tire contacts the road surface will help determine the root cause of abnormal wear. Improper inflation wear is perhaps the most misdiagnosed reason for alignments, as well as being the easiest to maintain and correct. In the accompanying image, you see examples of tires that are over-inflated, under-inflated and properly inflated. An over-inflated tire will show even, excess wear on the center portion of the tire. 20


An under-inflated tire will show excessive edge wear, often mistaken for an alignment issue. A properly aligned and well-inflated tire will show even wear across the full road-contact surface. Another wear pattern often misdiagnosed

as an alignment issue is cupping, or dips in the tire-tread pattern. This is generally seen as an irregular pattern caused from rebound wear when the tire is leaving and re-contacting the road surface. Balance, worn shock absorbers or loose suspension components are generally the cause.

ALIGNMENT ANGLES Nevertheless, wear will often point to an alignment issue. Alignment wear issues arise when the tires are not in straight-ahead full contact with the road surface. The most common wheel angles associated with wheel alignment are CASTER, CAMBER and TOE IN, each with their own concerns.

CASTER is an angle of the steering pivot points as viewed from the side

of the wheel. The forward or rearward tilt of the kingpin designates the caster angle. Caster is generally not considered to be a tire-wearing angle but can cause stability issues or cause the vehicle to pull to one side, requiring constant correction from the driver. As an example, the front wheels on a shopping cart have negative caster, causing them to follow the direction of travel.

On MCI coaches, caster is not adjustable. If the caster is out of specifications, this represents worn or damaged steering or front-axle mounting components

C A M B E R is an angle of the tires' contact with the road as viewed from the front or rear, resulting in an inward or outward lean of the tire. The TOP of the tire leaning in towards the vehicle is NEGATIVE camber, while an outward lean is POSITIVE camber. Camber can accelerate tire wear on one edge of the tread or the other due to the contact surface with the road. A small amount of positive camber is generally preferred, as it places the majority of the rolling weight on the larger inner wheel bearing Like caster, camber is nonadjustable on solid-beam axles. If out of specifications, components should be inspected and replaced as needed. They may be worn or damaged. On the independent suspensions, camber is adjustable

TOE is the angle of each tire on the axle in relation to the other, compared

to a straight-ahead position, as viewed from above. If the front or leading edge of the tires is closer than the rear edge, it is considered toe IN. If the front edge is farther apart than the rear, it is considered toe OUT. Keeping the tires in a straight-ahead position allows the tires to roll freely versus a SCRUB of the tread if they are pushed across the road surface. Excessive toe-in or toe-out conditions result in a "feathered" or sharp edge on the tire treads as the

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rubber is scrubbed from one point to another. Toe is adjusted by turning an adjusting sleeve attached to the tie rod(s) on the steering knuckle. During travel, the tires will have a tendency to toe outward, and a small amount of toe in allows for the tires to travel straight ahead. At ⅛" of toe on a set of steer tires, the tread-to-road contact can scrub up to eight feet in a mile of travel.

D45CRT-LE being aligned during the manufacturing process

PERFORMING THE ALIGNMENT The process of a wheel alignment measures each steering angle and allows the technician to make adjustments to bring each wheel into specification. MCI coaches should always be aligned on a threeaxle machine. This verifies the angle of every axle based on a geometric centerline of the vehicle. These types of alignment machines verify all the axles at once and create an imaginary center line with the center of the vehicle, which helps correct issues like the one in this figure, known as a THRUST ANGLE alignment. If the thrust of the drive axle is trying to push the coach to the left, the driver has to constantly steer to the right to maintain a straight track. Someone watching the vehicle from the rear will see that it is driving at an angle instead of straight in the traffic lane. In addition to performing them as part of a routine preventative maintenance program, alignments should be carried out for the following reasons: • Unusual tire wear • Replacement of any steering component (tie rod, drag link, king pin) • Any time major suspension work is completed on a coach (radius rod or bushing, ‘V’ link) Want more information? MCI Service Bulletin 2782 contains MCI-approved procedures for equipment setup and usage. You can also visit your nearest MCI Service Center or call MCI Technical Support at 800-241-2947.  22


Experience accessibility on a whole new level Newly reimagined, the MCIÂŽ D45 CRT LE for Commuter Rapid Transit warmly welcomes all passengers, creating an innovative low-entry vestibule with a ramp and adjoining seating area designed with mobility device users in mind. Beyond game-changing accessibility features to speed entry and exit, the all-new model offers modern good looks and the amenities that commuters have come to expect from MCI, including comfortable forward-facing seats, power outlets, parcel racks and Wi-Fi options, plus the sturdy reliability that has long made the MCI commuter coach the leading choice for commuter express.

Reliable. Rapid. Revolutionary. Get it soon in 100% electric Learn more at future-of-commuting.com 23


I N C A S E YO U M I S S E D I T.

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Urban

MCI ACCELERATES INNOVATION TO MEET CHANGING MARKET The company is focused on staying ahead of demographic changes with various advances, such as streamlining production and zero-emission technology. By Janna Starcic, EXECUTIVE EDITOR 28

METRO-MAGAZINE.COM

L

f you want to find the manufacturer with the most ambitious product design, development, and testing agenda in the motorcoach industry, look no further than MCI. The motorcoach leader has a timetable of innovations outpacing most others, according to the company. One part of the story has to do with parent company, NFI Group’s 2015 acquisition and aggressive investment plan for the North American brand. The rest, MCI says, is about keeping ahead of demographic changes and a new class of public and private operators who are re-inventing employee, corporate, and tourism transportation. “We’re at a unique point in mass transportation,” explains Patrick Scully, MCI executive VP, sales, marketing, and customer service. “You have citizens, employers, and government leaders rethinking the automobile for sustainability from a household cost and environmental standpoint. Affordability, sustainability, and scalability — motorcoach transportation meets all these objectives. With motorcoaches, commuter routes can be quickly established, especially at time when city centers and corporate campuses are growing with workers still traveling longer distances. And MCI is ready with product innovations to address these recent trends.” Over its 85-year history, MCI has delivered many firsts. In the 1980s, it was the breakthrough MC 9 model that quickly found its

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MOTO RCOAC H | M C I way into transit fleets across the country, followed by the 102 DL 3 that evolved into today’s MCI Commuter Coach. In the late 1990s, the all-luxury E-Series debuted, and by early 2000, transitioned into the luxurious J4500, offering best-in-class legroom, interior and advanced safety features, and lowest-cost-ofoperation, aided by a new swing-out cooling module e-Fan system in model year 2019 and the longest warranty in the industry. The company recently introduced a 35-foot J coach with the same luxury appeal of its best-selling J4500 coach. “Our customers have been asking for a 35-foot J model, and its development had been a part of our long-range strategy with the NFI Group, says Scully. “Our 35-foot coach carries over all of the best-in-class features on the current J4500, including its high-definition driver dash and optional Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).” The J3500 provides an economic alternative for existing J4500 owners in near-complete parts commonality and warranty, and offers a tighter turning radius (32 feet by 10 inches) for more maneuverability in traffic and urban settings. On its J-Series, MCI offers next-generation Bendix Fusion, a collision-mitigation system and ADAS safety suite that adds a forward-facing camera and object recognition software to further identify moving and stationary objects, lane markings, road signs, and more.

Patrick Scully, MCI Executive VP, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service (top)

‘REVOLUTIONARY ACCESSIBILITY’

■ MCI calls the MCI D45 CRT LE with “revolutionary accessibility” among the most significant model launches in its history. This next-generation MCI Commuter Coach was unveiled at the

“WE WANTED TO CREATE A LANDMARK IN ACCESSIBILITY WITH A DESIGN THAT EXCELLED IN CURB APPEAL FOR THE AGENCIES OPERATING IT TO SEND A PROGRESSIVE IMAGE THAT BRANDS THEIR SERVICE ...”

Brent Maitland, MCI VP, Marketing and Product Planning

Move to Zero

The L9N continues the evolution of emissions-leading natural gas engines from Cummins Westport. It features near-zero NOx emissions, improved performance and reliability, lower fuel costs, and maintenance-free MCI calls the aftertreatment. Combining the L9N with renewable MCI D45 CRT LE with “revolutionary accessibility” natural gas also provides significant well-to-wheel among the most significant greenhouse gas reductions. The L9N is available from model launches in its history. leading bus manufacturers, and is supported by the Cummins Sales and Service network.

2017 APTA Expo in Atlanta. Co-designed with longtime partners industry-standard, 10-month Altoona test for reliability over a 12Designworks, a BMW group company, the MCI D45 CRT LE inyear, 500,000-mile service life, according to company officials. cluded a one-of-a-kind evaluation process from accessibility advo“This Commuter Coach model represents a major breakthrough cacy organizations that endorsed its unique mid-coach, low-Learn entry moreinat: MCI passenger experience and offers significantly lower dwell vestibule design. This patented second entry welcomes andcumminswestport.com seats times,” says Brent Maitland, MCI VP, marketing and product all passengers comfortably, including those using wheelchairs and planning. “We wanted to create a landmark in accessibility with and cwiplaybook.com other mobility devices via an automatic curb-level ramp. a design that excelled in curb appeal for the agencies operating it After its debut, MCI offered several D45 CRT LE demos for to send a progressive image that brands their service and attracts a passenger testing with major transit systems and private operators, new generation of riders.” It’s hit the mark with 83 North American earning high passenger approval ratings. Performance tests have deliveries scheduled so far in 2019, and a battery-electric model been equally impressive with the MCI D45 CRT LE passing the debuting in 2020. 30

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MOTO RCOAC H | M C I

ZERO-EMISSIONS FUTURE

■ MCI has adopted a single manufacturing line system to assemble the J-Series and D-Series to speed production and cross-train assembly workers in real time as new design and product features are added. The company sees this streamlining as key for MCI’s move into battery-electric in 2020 with the MCI J4500e and MCI D45 CRTe LE CHARGE models — the new, single-line approach will allow flexible production of the fast-moving propulsion technologies in the future. MCI, which pioneered CNG and diesel-electric propulsion systems at customers' request at the start of the new millennium, is working fast to adapt New Flyer’s half-century of electric propulsion knowledge. New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE™ low-floor, battery-electric transit model electric continues to win fans. MCI will adopt the CHARGE moniker in its branding of its electric models. Designed for impressive power with plenty of torque for steep road grades, the J4500e and D45 CRTe LE models will share a similar battery-electric powertrain platform as it begins to serve the North American market, according to the company. Such developments occupy the time of Michael McDonald and MCI engineers. McDonald, MCI’s sustainable transportation specialist, joined the company in 2017. “Regulations and large public transit operations are driving the move to battery-electric today, but as battery technology improves more communities will want the technology,” says McDonald. “We also see power companies with a vested stake in this now. MCI is investing significant resources in this area, and what puts us ahead

The MCI D45 CRT LE passed the industry-standard, 10-month Altoona test for reliability over a 12-year, 500,000-mile service life.

is our well-built product, our top-tier suppliers, and getting the best VIC is the first lab in North out of energy technology available today.” America dedicated to the exAnd again, MCI product testing is showing good results. In early ploration and advancement of 2018, MCI’s first all-electric J4500e prototype’s performance exbus and coach technology. MCI “WITH® THE ceeded MCI engineers’ expectations at both low and high speeds is using it as learning center BROAD RANGE A NEW FLYER OF AMERICA COMPANY up to a sustained 70 miles per hour on the highway. Phase two testfor customers that want to keep OF PRODUCT ing took place with passengers in Northern California where the up-to-speed on battery-electric, model’s battery packs strategic placement created a comfortable, ADAS and telematic technology AND PRODUCT quite ride and smooth handling. After that, MCI moved the process coming to its models. IMPROVEMENTS, to Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana, with simuThe company believes that belated miles testing for durability, along with fine-tuning regenerafore you sell operators on what’s WE ALSO HAVE North America’s leader inyou need to tive braking and HVAC cooling and heating systems. At year-end, new and different, TO KEEP FOCUS providing unsurpassed the model was going through cold weather and electronic stability show them. “So many things are ON DELIVERING control tests at the Keweenaw Research Center in the Upper Penchanging about MCIand in regard to passenger accessibility insula of Michigan. but we are proud of BEST-IN-CLASS comfortinnovation, over traditional Once all this measurement is done, MCI plans to put its D45 this investment and want to make PARTS, SERVICE, standard-floor cutaway CRTe LE electric model through Altoona testing and have a J4500e it face-to-face with our customfor says transit, paratransit SUPPORT ANDvehiclesers," and a D45 CRTe LE production demo ready for passenger service Maitland. testing by mid-year 2019. “With the broad range of prodapplications. TRAINING.” and shuttle uct and product improvements, we also have to keep focus on deVEHICLE INNOVATION CENTER livering best-in-class parts, ser■ MCI and New Flyer have put their entire thought process on vice, support, and training,” he adds. “We’ve been enhancing our battery-electric and future technologies on display in Anniston, Service Centers, expanding parts availability and technical training, Alabama at the new Vehicle Innovation Center, known as the and showcasing our offerings at major trade shows and operator VIC. Part training center, part technology exhibition venue, the events this year. It is all a part of innovation at MCI.”

Specialty Vehicles

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TRAI N I NG CAM P

MCI’s full schedule of courses offered through the MCI Academy and hands-on Tech Tune-Up sessions can be found at www.mciacademy.com. This website si where you’ll find all that MCI offers to make your techicicans, drivers and shop staff the industry’s best. Our online, anytime Learning Management System (LMS) modules help technicians, owners and others get to know their MCI coaches inside and out. All training opportunities are offered at no cost to MCI customers. Check out the website, mark your calendars, and make your plans. Chances are there’s a lea4rnign opportunity that’s just right for you.

Training Schedule MCI Academy Courses – MCI National Training Center, Louisville, KY SPRING SESSIONS April 1–5 – HVAC 101 –Specialist Diploma April 1-5 – Technician 1a – Tech 1 - Certificate April 8-12 – HVAC 201 –Specialist Diploma - FULL April 8-12 – ELECT 101 –Specialist Diploma - FULL May 7-10 – HVAC 101 – Specialist Diploma

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May 6-10 – Technician 2b – Tech 2 – Certificate May 20-24 – Technician 2b – Tech 2 – Certificate May 20-24 - HVAC 201 – Specialist Diploma

SUMMER SESSIONS June 3-7 – Technician 1b – Tech 1 Certificate June 3-7 – ELECT 101 – Specialist Diploma - FULL June 10-14 – HVAC 301 – Specialist Diploma June 10-14 – ELECT 201 – Specialist Diploma June 17-21 – Technician 3 – Tech 3 Certificate- FULL July 8-12 – HVAC 201 – Specialist Diploma July 23-26 – HVAC 101 – Specialist Diploma July 22 – 26 – Technician 2a – Tech 2 Certificate July 29 – Aug 2 – HVAC 301 – Specialist Diploma July 29 – Aug 2 – ELECT 101 – Specialist Diploma August 5-9 – ELECT 301 – Specialist Diploma August 5-9 – Technician 2b – Tech 2 Certificate August 12-16 – ELECT 401 – Specialist Diploma August 19-23 – HVAC 401 – Specialist Diploma August 19-23 – ELECT 201 – Specialist Diploma August 27-30 – HVAC 101 – Specialist Diploma

MCI Regional Technical Tune-ups – MCI Sales & Service Centers August 14-15 – Winter Garden, Florida April 9-10 (English) – Montreal, QC April 11-12 (French) – Montreal, QC August 13-14 – Winter Garden, FL August 27-28 – Hayward, CA October 1-2 – Dallas, TX October 15-16 – Los Alamitos, CA 

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National Bus Trader The Magazine of Bus Equipment for the United States and Canada Volume XLII, No. 3

Febuary, 2019

Serving the bus industry since 1977. Visit us at www.busmag.com.

• Test Driving the New Electric MCI J4500e CHARGE • Stagecoach Group Sells Coach USA and Coach Canada • The Story of the Australian Scenicruiser 30


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These improvements are ongoing. Last year saw a modification in the engine compartment and interior that offered a rear window and more legroom for an increase to 60 passengers. The most recent improvement involved going with an electric fan cooling system with a swing out radiator for the engine compartment that is easier to maintain. New Flyer ’s heritage with electric buses dates back 50 years. Looking for a way to move forward with trolley buses, Toronto asked New Flyer to rebuild one in 1967. It was so well received that an order for 151 similar buses followed. As time went on, New Flyer became a major supplier for electric buses that operated in different cities. Moving beyond trolley buses, New Flyer developed a hydrogen fuel cell, electric drive and then their battery-electric drive. Today New Flyer ’s low-floor Xcelsior transit bus line is available with diesel, CNG, hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric power with the all-electric version falling under the Xcelsior CHARGE™ brand that will be common with MCI. In addition to the shorter transit bus lengths, New Flyer is also producing 60f o o t a r t i cu l a t e d b a t t e r y - e l e c t r i c b u s e s w i t h bus rapid transit (BRT) features. Hence, the J4500e CHARGE is in a position to take advantage of both the MCI coach building and the New Flyer electric bus expertise and experience. Changes in Systems and Components The single biggest difference between the diesel coach and the electric coach is moving to electric systems and components in a few areas. I stress the fact that none of these significantly changes how you drive the coach and, in many if not most cases, the driver m o v i n g f ro m a d i e s e l c o a c h t o a n e l e c t r i c coach may not even notice these changes.

Three bus guys check out the new systems on the J4500e CHARGE. Left to right are Cary Kadyschuk and Brent Maitland from MCI with Larry Plachno from NATIONAL BUS TRADER. R e p l a c i n g t h e d i e s e l e n g i n e w i t h a n e l ec t r i c m o t o r r e q u i r e d c h a n g i n g a f e w c o m p o n e n t s a n d s y s tems to electric power. MCI.

compartment towards the center. The air conditioning compressor is also now electric and is currently mounted in the third luggage compartment for this prototype test coach. I n t h e p a s t w e o f t e n c o u n t e d o n ge t t i n g passenger heat from the engine or a dieselfueled auxiliary heater. In the electric coach, the heaters are expectedly electric and are located in the second luggage bay on the curbside. The new steering system is electric over hydraulic and is in the forward street side compartment below the driver.

Let me again stress that while these components and systems have changed, their basic function has not. In many cases, if you d o n o t t e l l t h e d r i v e r, h e o r s h e m a y n o t immediately guess th at these components have changed. The smart ones will figure it out anyway. Batteries As you probably have already guessed, batteries for travel are a major component of the J4500e. MCI has elected to go with 450

The batteries for moving the coach are expensive, large and heavy. Hence, battery placement is impor tant from the standpoint of weight and balance. Nearly half of the b atteries are located in the second luggage compartment as shown here.

Obviously, the major change is from a diesel engine to an ele ctric motor to move t h e c o a c h . H o w e v e r, i n g o i n g a l l e l e c t r i c there are other systems and components that need to be changed. The most obvious are the components and systems that took power off the diesel engine. Since the electric motor does not run continuously, it is not very workable to use it to drive systems and components. The most obvious of these would include power steering, the engine compartment cooling system, the air compressor and the air conditioning compressor, and passenger and driver heating systems. MCI has already moved to an electric fan cooling system. This is less of a problem on the electric coach since the electric motor and related components generally do not throw off as much heat as a diesel engine. Nevertheless, the drive motor and its controls require a dedicated cooling system. The coach air compressor for brakes, suspension and other items is now electric and located low in the engine National Bus Trader / February, 2019 • 17

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kWh Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) batteries that are part of the Lithium Ion family. In addition to being heavy and expensive, they do take up a lot of room. Four of them are located in the second luggage bay and four more are towards the back of the engine c o m p a r t m e n t . T h e re i s a n i n t h b a t t e r y located immediately behind the third luggage compartment in what I think was the area formerly used for the fuel tank. It should be noted that the MCI engineers put a lot of effort into battery placement. Batt e r y l o c a t i o n i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t f ro m t h e standpoint of weight and balance, as well as for proper axle weight requirements. In your garage or depot these batteries can be charged in about three hours using a 150 kW plug-in cable depot charger. Fully charged, they provide a range of about 200 miles, but this changes depending on the number of stops, road grade, average speed and the use of heat and air conditioning. In t h e f u t u re , t h e J 4 5 0 0 e w i l l a l s o h a v e t h e option of being equipped to charge along the way using an overhead or in-ground system. I should note that the J4500e does have a re g e n e r a t i v e b r a k i n g s y s t e m t h a t p u t s power back into the batteries when braking.

M o s t o f t h e r e m a i n i n g b a t t e r i e s a r e l o c a t e d h e r e , i n t h e f o r w a r d e n d o f t he e n g i n e c o m p a r t m e n t area. One additional battery is placed in the area formerly used for the diesel fuel tank. This array of batteries gives the coach a range of about 200 miles depending on stops, road grade, average speed and the use of heat or air conditioning.

T h e re i s a n e e d f o r i n f r a s t r u c t u re f o r charging since you cannot simply plug the c o a c h i n t o a c o n v e n t io n a l e l e c t r i c a l o u t l e t . You can have these special cables added in your garage or yard, but you obviously need to have enough incoming electric power to make them work. In MCI’s case, given the need to move the electric coach around the country for various testing and customer demonstrations, they have purchased a standalone diesel generator trailer that can charge the coach for local use at any location. A dedicated truck pulls the generator while another dedicated truck with a flatbed transports the electric coach. This clearly illustrates the ease of moving diesel o n l y p o w e re d v e h i c l e s . T h i s i s t h e s a m e approach used by New Flyer to showcase their Xcelsior CHARGE electric bus. It is not really anticipated that regular bus operators would normally use this approach. I should mention that in addition to the banks of NMC batteries, the J4500e still has a regular 12/24V bus battery. This is used for the lights and other low-voltage items on the coach. Engine Compartment When you look into the engine compartment, there are two things you immediately notice. One is that there is no engine. The second is that it is very clean since there is no diesel fuel or larger quantities of lubricants. Looking into the engine compartment from the rear, you will find the fans on the left where they always were, but now they

The engine compartment no longer has an engine. On the left is the new electric fan cooling system while most of the engine compartment now houses various electrical components. Lower, in the center here at the rear, is the coach air compressor while batteries are at the rear of the compartment. The actual electric motor is relatively small and is located lower and connected directly to the drive line.

are electric fans. As you move from left to right across the engine compartment what you see are several boxes. Towards the left on top is the AUX Inverter. Below that are s e v e r a l d i ff e re n t e l e c t r i c a l c o m p o n e n t s including the motor inverter, the high volta g e f u s e b o x , i n v e r t e r f o r t h e m o t or, a n d DC/DC converter to supply the 12/24V syst e m a n d c h a rg e t h e c o a c h b a t t e r i e s . T h e coach air compressor is towards the center but lower.

18 • National Bus Trader / February, 2019

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Behind these boxes and towards the front of the coach is the pack of four batteries. The actual electric motor for moving the coach is located below and a little forward of the batteries. It is connected directly to the coach driveline and there is no transmission. MCI uses a Siemens 2024 electric drive system that is designed to handle long distances and h i g h e r s p e e d s . M e m b e r s o f t h e M C I s t a ff h a v e i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e c o a c h c a n re a c h higher speeds but will be limited to 72 miles


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Eliminating the diesel engine required changing belt-driven components and systems to electric power. The new electrically-powered air condit i o n i n g c o m p r e s s o r i s lo c a t e d i n t h e t h i r d l u g g a g e c o m p a r t m e n t o n t h e prototype.

per hour due to tire ratings, as with all MCI v e h i c l e s . A l s o l o w e r s p e e d s a re s i m i l a r l y more efficient and will extend the range of the coach. This type of electric motor has been proven in other electric bus operations. Expect that your t e chnicians and maint e n a n c e s t a ff w i l l b e d e l i g h t e d w i t h t h e J4500e CHARGE. I have talked with service people and technicians who work on electric buses. While I hear different things from different people, there are a few things that are typical. One is that they like working on the electric buses because they are cleaner. While y o u m a y s t i l l h a v e t o d e a l w i t h ro a d g r i t , there is no diesel fuel or DEF to get things dirty or sticky. Consider the fact that when y o u r s t a ff w o r k s o n a n e l e c t r i c b u s i n t h e g a r a g e , t h e re i s n o n e e d t o c o n n e c t a n

The J4500e CHARGE features a new electric over hydraulic steering system. It is located in the compartment under the driver ’s seat and can be seen in this photo as the shiny device with a hose attached near the lower center.

exhaust hose to the tailpipe because there is no tailpipe. The second thing I hear is that electric buses are easy to maintain. Many of the parts and systems that cause the most trouble are gone. Belts are gone and hoses have been reduced. Fuel filters have been eliminated and there is no engine coolant, no starter and several other items have been simplified. A third point is that the electrical components typically require less rebuilding and replacement than diesel bus components. There are examples of electric motors and other components from electric buses and s t re e t c a r s b e i n g re u s e d i n n e w b u s e s a n d railcars.

How can you tell the interior of an electric J4500e CHARGE from the interior of a diesel-powered J4500? The answer is that there really are no differences. Both coaches offer the same options and amenities including Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and the optional RGB programmable lighting to upgrade the interior.

Comparison to the Diesel J4500 With the exception of the driveline and some components, the new electric J4500e is essentially the same coach as the diesel J4500. They are both 45 feet long, 102 inches wide and about 11 feet and 9 inches high. The passenger capacity on both is essentially the same . . . 56 passengers with high legroom for up to 60 passengers. Both offer Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and the optional RGB programmable lighting to upgrade the interior. As a general rule, features and options available on the diesel J4500 will also be available on the electric J4500e. Both 45-foot models, as well as the 35-foot J3500, will now have the new swing-out radiator and e-Fan system. This replaces the traditional belt-driven syst ems and also elimina t es t he need for a fan clutch, a miter box and driveshaft. The e-Fan system quickly swings out to provide easy access for faster maintenance and also eliminates the need to maintain and drain coolant. Most other features found on the diesel J4500 will also be available on the electric J4500e. This includes the latest-generation Bendix Fusion collision m itigation system that was recently upgraded with a forward-facing camera with vehicle recognition software to detect and stop for stationary vehicles in the roadway. The system also offers lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. A new 360-degree camera provides improved visibility, especially during low speed operation, and can serve to avoid some costly repairs. It should be noted that the electric J4500e will have the same high level of support as the other MCI models. This includes support by the 24/7 technical call center, technical training and parts supply through NFI parts. Test Drive I was fortunate in having prior experience in driving electric buses including both National Bus Trader / February, 2019 • 19

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those with hub motors and the direct drive system. In spite of the fact that some of the electric bus components and systems are different, I find that there is no substantial difference in the driving and only a little difference in monitoring gauges and systems. Like diesel buses, you will find a battery shut off switch. If your company policy is to shut off the batteries overnight or when the c o a c h i s n o t i n u s e , y o u p ro b a b l y w a n t t o continue this procedure. Some people are talking about adding solar panels to the roof.

T h e y re a l l y d o n o t g e n e r a t e t h a t m u c h power but can be helpful in making sure that your battery system is “topped off.” Sliding into the driver ’s seat, you will see very few differences from a diesel bus. With the diesel bus, you have to start the engine and m ay have to wait for the air system to build up. With an electric bus, you simply turn the bus on. If your air pressure is low, you will still have to wait for it to build up. While the diesel engine runs continuously,

The driver ’s cockpit area and dash on the electric coach is very similar to the diesel coach version. One difference is that you have indicators on the electric coach to keep you informed of power usage and battery charge remaining. In addition, there no longer is a transmission since the electric motor connects directly to the drive line.

the electric motor only runs when the bus is moving. Yo u r g e a r s e l e c t o r i s n o l o n g e r a g e a r selector. Expect to see D, N and R only. This is because the J4500e has no transmission and no gears. The electric motor is connected d i re c t l y t o t h e d r i v e l i n e a n d s i m p l y r u n s faster for higher speeds. Different from a diesel bus is the fact that you will see new gauges and indicators on the dash that show you the amount of charge remaining in your batteries and the amount you are using. Essentially, your remaining battery charge is similar to the fuel gauge on a d i e s e l - p o w e re d c o a c h . I f y o u r u n o u t o f diesel fuel or battery charge, the coach is not going anywhere. Hence, you need to monitor your battery charge much like you monitor a fuel gauge. Let me expand this thought in two ways. One is that with a diesel bus you are essentially charging your batteries all of the time. This is because your engine is always running, consuming fuel and turning the alternator. With a battery-electric bus you are essentially discharging your batteries all of the time. Make sure you do not run out of battery charge. MCI has indicated that their electric coaches can be fitted with plans to provide a variety of recharging strategies s u c h a s e n ro u t e o v e rh e a d o r i n - g ro u n d charging systems along the way to extend the range of the coach. Note that alternate charging systems may only work in certain applications. It is anticipated that most operations will have depot charging at a home base.

Your editor had the opportunity to take the J4500e CHARGE for a test drive. The roads were often typical of the Midwest in the winter months with some ice and snow. However, the J4500e CHARGE proved to be delightful to drive and much like the diesel-powered J4500. MCI.

A second thought I will share with you is that – depending on outside temperatures and your use of heat and air conditioning – maybe less than half of the electricity being used will be going to actually move the coach. One test using MCI telematics showed that 44 percent of the electric power was going to move the coach, 24 percent was used on the high voltage accessories, low voltage accessories used 18 percent and the remaining 14 percent was used to run the electric heater. A side note is that while the same diesel bus can be sold to different operators, these electric buses may be modified or have o p t i o n s f o r i n d i v i d ua l b u y e r s . I n a d d i t i o n to modifying the battery system to individual needs, some operators may want some type of along-the-way charging capabilities included on their coaches. This has been simplified for customers. New Flyer and MCI have invested in a dedicated infrastructure Project Management Team that is based in the MCI/New Flyer Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC) in Anniston, Alabama. This group will sit down with you to learn your operating requirements and needs, as well as in-field route mapping and

20 • National Bus Trader / February, 2019

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Instead of a fuel door, the J4500e CHARGE has a door with a special receptacle in the same area for charging. A full charge requires about three hours and provides a range of about 200 miles.

analysis. They will then help you spec your coaches properly and also assist with charging strategy and infrastructure planning. The Romans called it “caveat emptor,” which translates into “Let the buyer b e w a re . ” I h a v e s e e n s o m e e l e c t r i c b u s ranges mentioned that seem impossible – because they are. If you turn off some of the accessories as well as t he heat and air conditioning, and then us e an ideal test track, you too can get some impressive range numbers. In comparison, the MCI people have been working with “real world miles” and can honestly tell you how heating, air conditioning, grades and accessory loads will impact your operation. You get the coach moving in the usual way by taking off the parking brake, hitting

The front luggage compartment on the prototype J4500e CHARGE remains open. However, expect to have less underfloor space on the electric coach because of batteries and electric components.

the “D” button and pressing down on the accelerator. The first thing you will notice is that acceleration is both quiet and smooth. Since there are no gears, the electric motor simply turns faster to provide more speed. This smooth and quiet acceleration is often noted positively by the passengers. While “jack rabbit” starts are usually not re c o m m e n d e d , I c a n s a y t h a t t h e J 4 5 0 0 e seemed more than capable of matching or beating the diesel buses “out of the gate.” In fact, there are places with hills, like Seattle, that prefer electric buses because they seem to do better on hills. MCI is using a hightorque electric motor for these same reasons. When you slow down, you will most likely feel the regenerative braking kicking in. Regenerative braking is nothing new and

In spite of all the new equipment, the J4500e CHARGE still needs a conventional battery. This is the regular 12/24V system used for the lights and other low-voltage items on the coach. You will find it in this compartment on the curb side immediately behind the third luggage compartment.

h a s b e e n a ro u n d f o r a c e n t u r y o n e l e c t r i c locomotives. What happens is that regenerative braking turns your electric motor into a generator and feeds electric power back into the battery system. This extends the range of the coach and does suggest that operations with substantial braking, such a s c o m m u t e r o r s h u t t l e ru n s , w i l l a c t u a l l y build up some charge along the way. The team at MCI advised that the current setup for both acceleration and regenerative braking is to closely mirror the performance and drivability of diesel coaches, which m a k e s t h e v e h i c l e m o re c o m f o r t a b l e f o r operators and drivers. Coach handling was great as always, but I think we have to credit this to MCI and the J4500 and not to the new battery-electric system. While some of the systems and components are different, the suspension and ride re m a i n i m p re s s i v e . T h e o n l y d i ff e re n c e I noted was in the new electric (over hydraulic) steering system. While I had no problem with the former system, I did like this new steering better. It might be difficult to come up with an exact reason, but I liked t he feel of t he syst em and it seemed somehow a little more positive. Testing and Production I should stress that the coach we drove and photographed was actually the first prot o t y p e of t h e J 4 5 0 0 e . I t h a d b e e n or i g i n a l l y built as a diesel coach but was used for the f i r s t e l e c t r i c p ro t o t y p e . H e n c e , t h e e x a c t placement of some components may be c h a n g e d b y t h e t i m e re g u l a r p ro d u c t i o n starts. Regular production coaches will certainly have the high-quality fit and finish we expect from MCI. What is anticipated is that as we roll into 2019, MCI plans to have an electric J4500e coach and electric D45 CRTe LE low entry Commuter Coach on the road for testing and demos. [D=MCI “D” model, 45=45 feet long, National Bus Trader / February, 2019 • 21

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CRT=Commuter Rapid Transit, e=electric and LE=Low Entry.] The D45 CRT LE, for example, will have to go back to Altoona, a test they recently passed with their diesel version. These coaches may be operated at times by MCI staff or may be used as customer test vehicles. Their purpose is to gather information in actual operation and provide feedback to the factory engineers o n w a y s t o i m p ro v e s y s t e m s a n d d e s i g n prior to the start of production. Expectations are that the testing and engineering should be completed in the first half of 2020 and that regular production will start later in the year. The first production units of the electric J4500e CHARGE should roll o ff t h e a s s e m b l y l i n e s o m e w h e re a ro u n d September of 2020. For those who ask, at least two additional M C I e l e c t r i c c o a c h m o d e l s a re c u r re n t l y planned for the future. All of this electric range is planned to carry the CHARGE branding, which is common with New Flyer. One would most likely be called the D45 CRTe CHARGE. It will be similar to the D45 CRTe LE but without the lower vestibule. Hence, it will eventually replace the traditional D4500 and D450 5 scheduled service and commuter coaches in the MCI product line and be offered in either diesel or electric. In addition, an electric version of the new 35-foot coach, probably designated as the

With the exception of the exterior graphics and lettering, the appearance of the J4500e CHARGE is essentially the same as the diesel coach. One of its best features is that it is highly compatible with the diesel coach, which simplifies the transition of drivers and technicians. We suspect that your maintenance and service staff will like working on the electric coach because it is cleaner and easier to work on.

J3500e CHARGE, will become available. However, the engineering and components on the J3500e may be somewhat different because of its shorter length.

thevillaslasolas.com Fort Lauderdale, FL,

From the

Keep watching the news for information on these new electric coaches being developed, being shown and going into production. ❑

954-398-5199

February, 2019 Issue of National Bus Trader 9698 W. Judson Road • Polo, Illinois 61064 Ph: (815) 946-2341 Fx: (815) 946-2347 www.busmag.com 22 • National Bus Trader / February, 2019

Reprinted with permission from National Bus Trader

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PR O D U C T S & S ERV I C E S

HIGH-TECH SAFETY SYSTEMS: HOW ADAS WORKS ON THE MCI J-SERIES Creating high quality coaches built for road safety has always been a mandate at MCI. Passengers love the look, feel and comfort of our J and D coaches – but our safety features also ultimately influence demand.

takes what’s evolving in the automotive vehicle industry and adapting those as appropriate. Take three-point passenger seatbelts– MCI was the first manufacturer to usher in this now-standard motor coach safety feature.

MCI’s safety strategy begins at its core. Each coach model is built with a proprietary semimonocoque construction with a strong, full stainless-steel frame for dependable, long-term structural integrity. MCI has also embraced a successful safety strategy that

Electronic advancements over the past 10 years have given us Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), automatic fire suppression, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and MCI’s own patented Digital Wheel End Sensing

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(DWES) systems that help measure wheel-end temperatures on coaches.

camera utilizes object recognition software to further identify moving and stationary objects, lane markings, road signs and more. Bendix Fusion offers:

Today, MCI is at the beginning of what Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can do, and again, is in the lead.

• Stationary Vehicle Braking (SVB) that uses forward-facing radar to identify large metal objects. If Fusion’s radar is tracking a large stationary metallic object that “looks” like a vehicle to the camera recognition software, then Fusion will apply braking as a precaution.

What the next-generation Bendix Fusion ADAS offers When MCI introduced Bendix Wingman collisionavoidance systems as on option on 2016 MCI J4500 coaches, operators were excited to finally have a tool that could help drivers avoid or reduce incidents. And even in this short period, ADAS technology has advanced significantly.

• Lane Departure Warning (LDW) tracking that can recognize lane markers and issue a warning on the instrument panel if the vehicle begins to drift into another lane.

Wingman uses front-mounted radar sensors to detect moving metallic objects and estimate closure rates in real time (the standard setting is three seconds) to avoid or lessen the impact of a collision.

• Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) identifies common road signs, such as speed limit signs. If Fusion “sees” a speed limit sign and notes the coach is exceeding that limit, it will also issue a warning on the instrument panel.

As the most advanced ADAS safety suite on the market today, Bendix Fusion adds a windshieldmounted, forward-facing camera in addition to the front bumper-mounted radar. The added

And that’s today’s technology. As for tomorrow’s advancements, MCI designers and engineers are looking at such advanced systems as telematics,

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coach at about 25 miles an hour approaching a stationary vehicle and it stopped on its own. The amount of speed that can be removed from the equation is impressive, and in many instance because of the system’s warning-alerts incidents are avoided altogether.

that tracks performance and pinpoints required maintenance on internal componentry to improve coach reliability. It’s all about empowering drivers and operators MCI believes optimum vehicle safety means empowering the driver at every vantage point.

Yet such advancements won’t – in fact, can’t – replace the expertise of the driver behind the wheel.

It’s why in the 2017 MCI J4500, MCI redesigned the driver cockpit for high seating and maximum road visibility accompanied by a simplified, easy-to-access control panel offering easy access to all operating systems on the coach.

“While ADAS and related technologies represent a great step forward in vehicle safety, MCI believes that consistent driver and technician training is equally essential to making our industry safer over time,” said Maitland, who notes the system is called Wingman and not AutoPilot as promoted by other companies. “The best-trained and most responsible drivers must remain the ultimate authority of safe driving in any traffic, road condition or weather environment.”

That’s not where driver assistance ends. Operators know that even the smallest fenderbender can cost significant money and curb appeal to current and future passengers and clients. So as a companion to high-speed assistance with ADAS, MCI also supplies low-speed safety technology like the latest optional 360-degree camera systems that provide a bird’s-eye view around the entire coach to assist with parking and small movements.

To learn more about MCI safety features, watch this video. You may also like these articles: https://www.wdbj7.com/content /news/ Virginia-researchers-say-new-car-technologyis-cutting-down-on-crashes-505279992.html

At a 2018 MCI sales meeting, a demonstration of the J4500s latest Stationary Vehicle Braking system at the Atlanta Motor Club, impressed operators. “It’s remarkable technology,” said Brent Maitland, MCI Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning. “We had the

https://venturebeat.com/2018/12/04/vehicletelematics-data-could-unlock-1-5-trillion-infuture-revenue-for-automakers/ 

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MCI pre-owned. Invest with the best.

Behind every great, pre-owned MCI coach, there’s a great team of experts. Standing behind a pre-owned coach is easy when you’ve known it since it was new. That’s the MCI advantage. To simplify shopping, we also categorize coaches in service-ready Select+ and lowest cost Deal classifications. And because it’s an MCI, you have the unrivaled support of our entire service network. Whatever you’re looking for in a pre-owned coach, you’ll find it at MCI.

Call your MCI pre-owned coach pro today.

Marshall Deems

Brian Lichter

WEST COAST (818) 519-7193

NORTH CENTRAL (224) 688-6351

Bob Dethloff Walter Sturdivant Randy Wilcox Jason Rounsaville MID WEST (847) 867-5191

MID ATLANTIC (609) 876-3713

NORTH EAST (609) 876-3711

Brian Hill

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SOUTH CENTRAL (720) 383-5797 (214) 725-0490

See our complete available inventory at mcicoach.com/preowned 41

Janet Cathey SOUTH EAST (678) 472-1743

Chad Sadowy

Guy Charron

CANADA WEST (204) 227-1616

CANADA EAST (514) 240-8448


I N C A S E YO U M I S S E D I T.

BUILT WITH MCI PRIDE: PEMBINA, ND MANUFACTURING TEAM COMPLETES PRODUCTION OF THE FIRST MCI D45 CRT LE COMMUTER COACH UNIT #81000, ONE OF FOUR GOING TO BOW VALLEY’S ROAM TRANSIT, MARKS A MILESTONE AS THE FIRST NEW MODEL MANUFACTURED AT PEMBINA IN NEARLY 30 YEARS ALL-ELECTRIC MCI D45 CRT LE TARGETED FOR 2020

PEMBINA,NORTH DAKOTA, MARCH 26, 2019: (TSX:NFI) Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., ("NFI"), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, delivered the first of its all new MCI D45 CRT LE. The D45 CRT LE is MCI’s next-generation Commuter Coach, opening new opportunities in transit.

The game-changing coach offers modern styling and superior rider comfort with something very different — revolutionary passenger accessibility via a second door with a low-entry automatic ramp system. The Low-Entry Vestibule design provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers, including two with mobility devices plus an attendant.

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Following rigorous in-service testing by public and private transportation organizations across the nation, the first full production unit, # 81000, has rolled off the production line for delivery.

provides access to amenities for an enjoyable riding experience.” In fact, passengers surveyed while riding the D45 CRT LE during test phase service gave it a 93 percent approval rating.

“We’re very proud of our team in Pembina and excited to begin delivering this amazing coach,” said Ian Smart, MCI President. “We’re designing for a transit future where all passengers will have an easier, faster and more comfortable commute, and our North Dakota plant is making that a reality for operators everywhere.”

When the D45 CRT LE was unveiled to the industry, National Bus Trader Magazine’s industry critic wrote: “One must spend some time inside this module (Vestibule) to grasp not only its extraordinary ingenuity, but a conceptual use of space, mechanics, movement and convertibility I had never before seen in any public transportation vehicle in my entire career. The D45 CRT LE represents new thinking, the solution to a capacity issue that had previously stumped the industry (and) a break through in the ability to capture a huge and growing, untapped market, and a vehicle capable of breaking through travel inequality for a deserving portion of our population whose travel by motorcoach had thus far been marginalized by a profound lack of innovation, if not an almost total absence of interest.”

Revolutionary MCI D45 CRT LE design Everything about this MCI design project was new. “Our research and customer feedback demonstrated a need for more efficient, welldesigned options for mobility challenged passengers,” said Brent Maitland, MCI Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning. “The D45 CRT LE entry simplifies the boarding process, matching low-floor transit dwell times, and as importantly improves the overall passenger experience.”

More firsts

A conventional motor coach wheelchair lift takes an estimated 8 to 10 minutes to deploy; involving a multi-step process. Operating a wheelchair lift requires significant driver training. The lift elevates the passenger in the air to a slide-door entry and requires several driver maneuvers and interior seat adjustments. Boarding the D45 CRT LE is radically easier.

Alberta’s Bow Valley Regional Transit was the first operator to order the MCI D45 CRT LE. Delivery is scheduled to be completed by April 5, and the agency’s four new coaches will serve the longest, most scenic route for Bow Valley’s Roam Transit — a 45-minute commute connecting Banff and Lake Louise. Later this year, SouthWest Transit, Eden Prairie, MN, will take delivery of two new MCI D45 CRT LE Commuter Coaches, citing that the coaches will allow for better vehicle scheduling and costsavings by providing the right vehicle for both the load demand and accessibility needs.

Over four years, MCI’s design team worked with Designworks on dozens of concepts. And then it called in the end-users. Representatives from accessibility groups including the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) provided input into the final design.

At United Motorcoach Association’s annual EXPO, Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 6-10, MCI also showcased a custom order for a Silicon Valley employer that features bike racks, flat-screen monitors and onboard workspace areas, also planned for 2019 delivery.

“The important design element isn’t just about boarding efficiency, it’s caring about the users,” said Maitland. “We learned that all passengers, specifically the mobility challenged, desire a stress-free boarding experience. The vestibule allows passengers using mobility devices to board in the same manner as all other passengers, and

Pembina plant history of innovation MCI’s Pembina plant, opened in 1962, helped

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establish MCI’s workhorse brand reputation and pioneered CNG and diesel electric systems. All-electric propulsion, backed by MCI’s sister company New Flyer, is now underway. New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE™ branding will accompany MCI’s all-electric models, including a battery-powered D45 CRTe LE CHARGE targeted for production in 2020.

delivery center and other improvements make this facility a model of QAS practices.

To handle the innovation, Pembina operations has adopted Quality-at-the-Source, a lean manufacturing principle that delivers heightened quality, efficiency and ergonomics at every work station. Zero-gravity lift equipment, a new coach

The plant has added new tooling, adopted several new work methods and began retraining over 240 employees in preparation for unit # 81000 build and additional new D45 CRT LE orders. The location employs over 300 people including members of International Association

MCI’s Pembina plant is best known for installing powertrains, seats and other components to transform MCI D-Series shells built in Winnipeg, Canada, into fully operational models that meet Buy America and Altoona-tested requirements.

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of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Pembina local lodge W384) in various functions to support coach operations. Pembina has added 75 employees since September 2018 to support the new coach build and will continue to add to its workforce in 2019.

floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), MCI® (motor coaches), and NFI Parts™ (parts, support, and service). NFI buses incorporate the widest range of drive systems available including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, and zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell) on proven bus platforms. It also supports infrastructure development through New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™, a service dedicated to providing safe and reliable charging and mobility solutions. In total, NFI supports over 74,000 buses and coaches currently in service across North America. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, NFI posted revenues of US

About NFI With over 6,100 team members, operating from 31 facilities across Canada and the United States, NFI is North America’s largest bus manufacturer providing a comprehensive suite of mass transportation solutions under brands: New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), ARBOC® (low-

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$2.4 billion. NFI common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI. News and information are available at www. nfigroup.com.

of these factors, the NFI Group disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law. 

About MCI Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is North America’s public and private market motor coach leader, building the J4500 (the industry best-seller for 13 consecutive years), the all-new 35-foot J3500 model, and the workhorse D-Series including the breakthrough ADA-accessible MCI D45 CRT LE Commuter Coach offering lower dwell times. MCI will add battery-electric propulsion in 2020. With nearly 30,000 MCI coaches on the road, MCI also provides maintenance, repair, 24-hour roadside assistance, parts supply through NFI Parts, and technician training through the industry’s only Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accredited MCI Academy. Further information is available at www.mcicoach.com.

Patricia Plodzeen, MCI Public Relations 847-283-0883 pat.plodzeen@mcicoach.com

For investor inquiries, please contact: Stephen King P: 204.224.6382 Stephen_King@newflyer.com

Forward-Looking Statement This press release may contain forward-looking statements relating to expected future events and financial and operating results of NFI Group that involve risks and uncertainties. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements, and the differences may be material. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations as projected in such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including market and general economic conditions and economic conditions of and funding availability for customers to purchase coaches and to purchase parts or services, customers may not exercise options to purchase additional coaches, the ability of customers to suspend or terminate contracts for convenience and the other risks and uncertainties discussed in the materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Due to the potential impact

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MCI SPONSORS ABA’S WOMEN IN BUSES COUNCIL

Women in Buses Council (WIB) exists to recognize and advance the role of women in the motorcoach industry through networking, education and mentoring programs. It was created in 2011 and is a program of the American Bus Association. Since that time, the leadership, structure and activities of the Council have been developing to meet the goals of the Council. The Women in Buses Council is comprised of Bus Company Owners / General Managers / Executives, Bus Operator Operations & maintenance Staff, Bus Manufacturers, Assocation (Products & Services) Members, Bus Operator Safety Staff, Tour Opertaor, SMO / CVB Staff, Travel Industry Members, Tour Coordinators, Charter Coordinators, National / State / Provincial/ Retional and Affiliated Associations and members of the industry who support the mission of Women in Buses. There is no enrollment fee. Committees • Executive Management • Operations and Maintenance • Travel, Tour and Charter Educuation WIB offers expert speakers and government / industry officials who present on issues and innovations in areas of interest to diverse needs / interest of the Council and its committees. Mentoring WIB provides mentoring opportunities in each segment to advise and support individual members of the Council. Meetings WIB meets annual at Marketplace as well as regularly through scheduled conference calls / webinars. For more information or to inquire on the latest meeting / webinar schedule, please contact Vicki Osman, CTIS at 202-218-7230 or VOsman@buses.org 

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The long and short of reliability.

Introducing the 2019 J4500 and J3500 At MCI, we know that groups come in all different sizes. That’s why we now offer a 35-foot version of our best-selling J-Series coach. Impressive inside and out, both the J3500 and 45-foot J4500 offer best-in-class interior features, a smooth-riding suspension and leading ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance Systems) only from MCI. Add in great parts commonality, superior build quality, and an unsurpassed service and support network, these are the coaches that make MCI the top choice for driving your business.

Discover the lengths we go to be Reliability Driven™ for you. Visit mcicoach.com/J-Series

Profile for Deliverabilities

FYI from MCI Spring Edition 2019  

FYI from MCI Spring Edition 2019