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General discussion about any of the popular chassis and cabs used by cutaway transit buses, shuttle buses, or motorcoaches: Ford E-Series, Ford Transit, Ford Super Duty, Chevy Express, Freightliner etc. I'll start off with the 2017 Ford Super Duty. For 2016 and before, the Super Duty cab chassis variants (including buses) have been stuck at 300hp and 660lb*ft for the 6.7 diesel, while the pickup version's torque and horsepower have continued to increase. However, for 2017, the all new Super Duty will be revealed, and Ford claims upgraded powertrains for both the pickup and chassis cab. Ford's Super Duty is very popular with cutaways; for example, the Eldorado Aero Elite. The Super Duty chassis already makes for a very powerful bus, so it would be exciting seeing an even more powerful chassis.
Its April 2013 and New Flyer and Alexander Dennis are getting set to unveil their “MiDi” bus in North America. Conversation regarding this medium-duty low-floor has been lively (http://www.cptdb.ca/...ic=14910&st=120) Wikipedia says a midi bus "can be anywhere between 8 metres (26 ft 3 in) and 11 metres (36 ft 1 in) long. US federal government Altoona testing specifies a 10 year / 350,000 mile life cycle for a medium-duty bus. New Flyer has said their bus will cost 250 to 300 thousand each vs. 350 to 400 thousand for a heavy-duty bus. NFI plans to market the midi to customers who may now be buying heavy duty but don't need it, and also it will be marketed to the high end of the cutaway bus market. Maybe half of the sales are expected to be to private entities rather than transit agencies. Many with experience have pointed out that medium-duty buses are not well suited for demanding daily use on big city routes that run long hours. Bus_Medic and RailBus63, and others, have pointed out that a similar bus (the SLF/Dart) was not well-suited for how it was used in North America--or was just plain unreliable. However, I’d love to see buses like these replace cutaways wherever they may be. Although they will cost more than cutaways, they should have big advantages in durability, turning radius, and comfort and convenience of drivers--and passengers. And be more appealing to transit fans, for sure. Who are the competitors in this market? Eldorado National markets a lot of cutaways, and at least a couple of buses that are medium-duty: The Passport-HD (cutaway) appears to be the only low-floor option: http://www.enconline.../CAproducts.cfm Arboc is a major player in low-floor cutaways. (In less than three years ARBOC Mobility became North America’s largest producer of mid-size buses under 30 feet, according to this article: http://busride.com/2...ts-a-low-floor/ I don’t think any of these cutaways (Spirit of Mobility and Spirit of Freedom) are medium-duty certified but no doubt New Flyer wants to compete for those sales. Arboc is also working with Freightliner on a non-cutaway which looks like a worthy competitor--called the Spirit of Liberty. http://www.metro-mag...artnership.aspx I would love to see this bus in my town! Sounds like its at least 2 years away though. The Vicinity from Grande West appears to be the closest thing to the MiDi now available. A non-cutaway medium-duty low floor bus! Looks a lot like the MiDi too. http://www.bctransit..._Comparison.pdf BC Transit knows all about the Vicinity, which is designed for their use as a Community Shuttle. The New Flyer MiDi can be ordered as a 30 or a 35 footer. http://www.newflyer....sa-04032013.pdf I'm hoping the MiDi, Vicinity, and Spirit of Liberty will do very well. Can't wait to see them around. Please add any info you have about these and other buses competing for midsize bus sales. What is the latest on the Vicinity in BC? Who thinks their TA is interested in a medium-duty low-floor bus?