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Gillig product discussion


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39 minutes ago, RailBus63 said:

If the Gillig Low Floor design is 'long in the tooth', then so is the NovaBus LFS which came out the same year. 

Actually the LFS predated the Low Floor by a year.

3 hours ago, Buzz2kb said:

4. Gillig has become a victim of its own success after gaining orders from moderately large agencies like San Diego MTS, Valley Metro, Greater Cleveland RTA and MARTA, leading to production capacity issues.

5. Gillig is experiencing transition pain as they moves their plant from Hayward to Livermore.

Don't forget that Gillig gained two huge orders from SMART as well-the first for 59 vehicles is currently being delivered (in fact over half are already in service) and 80 more are coming next year. Hopefully they'll have the Livermore plant up and running by the time they start on the 80-bus order.

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What I indirectly was trying to show is that a lot of traits that are desirable or undesirable can simply be the result of how an agency specs their buses, and, even indeed how they purchase their bus

My job RideKC got their first electric bus a couple of weeks ago. Still not in service yet. 

Care to explain a bit more? I'm all for people having their own opinions, but, just simply saying that something sucks doesn't cut it. You say the suspension sucks. Why? How does it compare to other b

Posted Images

While I do enjoy operating Gillig's and i think they are good  buses I wish Mont County Ride On would order New Flyers. It boring driving the same thing over and over again.

I've attached a picture of my favorite bus in the fleet for now haha 

(sorry for the bad quality i had a quick layover)

913BFF7F-43BD-4EC5-AE62-E9F28A087DCD.JPG

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5 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

Competition is probably the answer.  New Flyer has lost major customers to NovaBus for now (or, in the case of Toronto, hasn't been able to pick up Orion's old business).  They also have to keep the new Xcelsior lines at the Anniston plant running so they may be more willing to sharpen their pencils and drop the price for now.

If the Gillig Low Floor design is 'long in the tooth', then so is the NovaBus LFS which came out the same year. 

Also the Anniston plant is a lower cost plant so they can lower their bids to compete with Gillig for the small or mid size orders.

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Don't forget all the transit systems switching to Gillig!! Community Transit switched from being long time NF buyer, TriMet switched after New Flyer gave them absolute crap buses, Pierce Transit switched also. That's just a few out of all of them. Gillig does make a great bus

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I don't think the comparison to the LFS is fair, since the LFS has seen significant changes in its engineering over the years, while Gillig's changes have mostly only been cosmetic.  Gillig IMO should introduce a successor to the Low Floor and BRT.

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3 hours ago, ABQ RIDE said:

I don't think the comparison to the LFS is fair, since the LFS has seen significant changes in its engineering over the years, while Gillig's changes have mostly only been cosmetic.  Gillig IMO should introduce a successor to the Low Floor and BRT.

Cool, can anyone say more about what engineering changes the LFS has had that maybe the Gillig has not? Is the Gillig low floor technologically behind?

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20 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

Cool, can anyone say more about what engineering changes the LFS has had that maybe the Gillig has not? Is the Gillig low floor technologically behind?

The LFS has seen four generations, now being in its fourth.

The first generation Nova LFS (produced 1995 to 1999) used a transverse mounted engine and was available in both partial low floor and full low floor designs.

The second generation Nova LFS was introduced in 1999 and was produced until 2009.  The main changes over the first generation Nova LFS included a stainless steel frame, a multiplex electric system, and an electronically controlled engine.  Over the years this generation was produced there were also various cosmetic changes as well.  The full low floor option was dropped in 2005.

The third generation LFS was introduced in 2009 and was produced until 2013.  This generation saw one of the most significant engineering changes to the LFS by replacing the transverse mounted engine with a longitudinally mounted engine located in the center, as well as relocating the cooling system from above the engine to above the rear window.  Midway through production a new interior was introduced in 2011.

The fourth generation was introduced in 2013 and mainly redesigns the rear to accommodate EPA 2013 engines.

 

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On 8/24/2016 at 4:43 PM, ABQ RIDE said:

I don't think the comparison to the LFS is fair, since the LFS has seen significant changes in its engineering over the years, while Gillig's changes have mostly only been cosmetic.  Gillig IMO should introduce a successor to the Low Floor and BRT.

Why should they introduce a successor? Do New Flyer and Nova have bus designs or features on their buses that put Gillig at a competitive disadvantage? In fact, I would argue the LFS design changes were intended to make the LFS design more standard (T-drive engine) and competitive with other bus designs in the market..

On 8/23/2016 at 11:58 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

Don't forget all the transit systems switching to Gillig!! Community Transit switched from being long time NF buyer, TriMet switched after New Flyer gave them absolute crap buses, Pierce Transit switched also. That's just a few out of all of them. Gillig does make a great bus

Great. More speculation without any understanding of how the purchasing process works. Trimet went with Gillig because they scored the highest in their evaluated RFP as detailed here and here.

Community Transit is still a New Flyer buyer, recently ordering 60 foot buses as detailed here.

 

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On 8/26/2016 at 4:21 AM, Silly Tilley said:

Why should they introduce a successor? Do New Flyer and Nova have bus designs or features on their buses that put Gillig at a competitive disadvantage?

Great question. One thing I've noticed is that both Xcelsior and the Proterra Catalyst claim to be lighter in weight.

Xcelsior: 26k to 28.5 thousand pounds

Source: http://www.abc-companies.com/bundles/abccompaniescms/pdf/specs/Xcelsior_spec.pdf

Proterra Catalyst: 27,500 pounds

Source: http://www.proterra.com/product-tech/product-specs/

Lighter weight can be a great thing, leading to less stress on component parts and better fuel efficiency. All that equals less cost.

I don't see specification data on the Gillig web site, which makes me wonder if they are trying to hide their specs.

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On August 26, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Benjamin said:

The "V drive" low-floors as far as I know never used the old-style Allison V730 series transmission except for one LFS demo to Toronto.

~Ben

What?

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10 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

I don't see specification data on the Gillig web site, which makes me wonder if they are trying to hide their specs.

By posting or not posting specs on their website, would that ever influence a purchase from Gillig? Probably not given the tendering processes usually utilized for bus purchases. It's not like we're talking about an online retailer here where a consumer can easily compare specs of different products and make a purchasing decision.

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41 minutes ago, M. Parsons said:

By posting or not posting specs on their website, would that ever influence a purchase from Gillig? Probably not given the tendering processes usually utilized for bus purchases. It's not like we're talking about an online retailer here where a consumer can easily compare specs of different products and make a purchasing decision.

Great point, but I still wonder if they have worse specs. Otherwise why not be like NFI and Proterra? Show them off and take pride in the data.

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11 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

Great question. One thing I've noticed is that both Xcelsior and the Proterra Catalyst claim to be lighter in weight.

Xcelsior: 26k to 28.5 thousand pounds

Source: http://www.abc-companies.com/bundles/abccompaniescms/pdf/specs/Xcelsior_spec.pdf

Proterra Catalyst: 27,500 pounds

Source: http://www.proterra.com/product-tech/product-specs/

Lighter weight can be a great thing, leading to less stress on component parts and better fuel efficiency. All that equals less cost.

I don't see specification data on the Gillig web site, which makes me wonder if they are trying to hide their specs.

Hmm, yes, no specs is a bit annoying, although I agree with M. Parsons on it not necessarily being something they're trying to hide. Anyhoo, we'll just have to extract that information using other means of persuasion:

Builder's plate photo by Matt of a SMART Gillig BRT 40' Hybrid lists the unladen weight at 29,940 lb (Is that what a 'curb weight' would be?)

Builder's plate photo by Matt of a SMART Gillig BRT 40' lists unladen weight at 28,200 lb

Builder's plate photo of a Metro Transit Gillig Low Floor 40' (w/BRT front) lists unladen weight at 28,240 lb

Builder's plate photo of a Green Bay Metro Gillig Low Floor 40' lists unladen weight at 27,520 lb

So assuming that the SMART Gilligs are similar aside from the hybrid power pack, and fairly representative of a typical Gillig LF/BRT, we'll say the hybrid system adds 1,740, say 2,000 lbs. So a hybrid Gillig LF without the BRT nose would clock in around 29,500, about 1000 more lb than a heavier Xcelsior and 2000 more than a Proterra Cat. A standard diesel LF is about 1500 lbs heavier than a XD40. (I'm assuming the 26k is for a standard one without CNG or battery accessories.)

So I guess a question I have from this is, how much fuel and wear and tear would actually be saved by moving 1000-2000 less lbs? And, is it worth it if you're trading for some of the unique features of a cookie cutter Gillig LF, such as standard profile tires, quick change skirt panels, good aftermarket support, etc.

 

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22 minutes ago, M. Parsons said:

Altoona reports would have that data, and more.

Yeah, I did look around at altoonabustest.com but it looked like the last Gillig diesel low floor they tested was in 2004. It might be more apples to apples to compare an XN40 with a recent Gillig CNG 40. I haven't taken the time to do that.

Thanks to MVTAriders contribution it seems likely that the weight difference is small, perhaps as small as 3% lower for an Xcelsior. Still, that likely adds up to $$ savings in wear and tear and fuel over 5000,000 miles.

For a Proterra extended range electric bus, weight is an especially large liability since it could add up to range anxiety. So Proterra has made leanness a priority with a composite body.

http://www.compositesworld.com/news/proterra-composite-bodied-bus-travels-258-miles-on-single-charge

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Bus weight will vary significantly by specification.  For example, the continuous windows add significant weight, and other options, such as seats, A/C systems, cooling systems, etc., will cause weight to vary significantly from one order to the next.  For minimum weight on the Gillig, you don't want any of the BRT stuff, and you want simple lightweight seats, no bike rack, smallest fuel tank, standard windows, etc.

From what I have seen, the Gillig and NFI low floors are roughly comparable in weight, but precise comparisons are not possible unless you find two that are spec'd as closely together as possible.  It is also likely that technical documents that are part of a bid response would have a pretty accurate estimate, but I'm guessing that those documents cannot be made public.

On 8/25/2016 at 2:08 PM, ABQ RIDE said:

The first generation Nova LFS (produced 1995 to 1999) used a transverse mounted engine and was available in both partial low floor and full low floor designs.

I'm pretty sure the engine was longitudinal but offset to one side, similar to the Orion VI.

The third gen moved it to a central mount.

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On 2016-08-28 at 3:49 AM, AMG said:

I'm pretty sure the engine was longitudinal but offset to one side, similar to the Orion VI.

The third gen moved it to a central mount.

You're right, it was. Even offset, it's a T-drive setup.

 

Dan

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On August 26, 2016 at 1:21 AM, Silly Tilley said:

Why should they introduce a successor? Do New Flyer and Nova have bus designs or features on their buses that put Gillig at a competitive disadvantage? In fact, I would argue the LFS design changes were intended to make the LFS design more standard (T-drive engine) and competitive with other bus designs in the market..

Great. More speculation without any understanding of how the purchasing process works. Trimet went with Gillig because they scored the highest in their evaluated RFP as detailed here and here.

Community Transit is still a New Flyer buyer, recently ordering 60 foot buses as detailed here.

 

TriMet actually switched to Gillig because New Flyer gave TriMet bad buses, the 2900 series. All of them had to have engine replaced within the first year, and some went thru 3 and even 4 all because of New Flyer bad design. The 2900's had many issues, one being too slow, and issues with steering column. People hate them. Also, there was a deadly bus accident involving a New Flyer bus. They determined NF was at fault also. TriMet hasn't had any issues with their new Gillig buses other than usual bugs. It's great to see a lot of systems switching to a higher quality manufacturer.

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I believe we are at a point where New Flyer, Nova and Gillig will continue to split the market more or less evenly - NFI will probably remain the biggest in terms of units sold, but not the dominant player.  Nova can count on a base of Quebec orders every year and seemingly is intent on winning other big TA orders.  Gillig has a successful business model that has served it well and a strong customer support reputation.  They are also making a bigger push for big TA orders, having recently won the MARTA contract for CNG buses.  BYD is the wild card here and could potentially make a big push into the U.S. market, but they seem to be betting on electric buses becoming a big seller (which in IMO is unlikely in the short term due to the high purchase price).

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2 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

I believe we are at a point where New Flyer, Nova and Gillig will continue to split the market more or less evenly - NFI will probably remain the biggest in terms of units sold, but not the dominant player.  Nova can count on a base of Quebec orders every year and seemingly is intent on winning other big TA orders.  Gillig has a successful business model that has served it well and a strong customer support reputation.  They are also making a bigger push for big TA orders, having recently won the MARTA contract for CNG buses.  BYD is the wild card here and could potentially make a big push into the U.S. market, but they seem to be betting on electric buses becoming a big seller (which in IMO is unlikely in the short term due to the high purchase price).

Gillig really needs to start making artics and move into Canada too. I hope BYD goes bankrupt. Their buses are absolute crap

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12 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

I believe we are at a point where New Flyer, Nova and Gillig will continue to split the market more or less evenly - NFI will probably remain the biggest in terms of units sold, but not the dominant player.  Nova can count on a base of Quebec orders every year and seemingly is intent on winning other big TA orders.  Gillig has a successful business model that has served it well and a strong customer support reputation.  They are also making a bigger push for big TA orders, having recently won the MARTA contract for CNG buses.  BYD is the wild card here and could potentially make a big push into the U.S. market, but they seem to be betting on electric buses becoming a big seller (which in IMO is unlikely in the short term due to the high purchase price).

 As far as I know, Gillig is not competing on electric buses. That appears to be a big mistake. The purchase price has come down a lot, to as low as $700k. Combine that with all of the fuel and maintenance savings and electric buses are competitive now. Especially if a TA takes into account urban air pollution, which of course they are very concerned about and for good reason. Air pollution literally kills. So its not surprising that many, many TAs are showing interest in the electric technology and making purchases. Foothill Transit has committed to being all electric by 2030. Which I believe means no more diesel or CNG buses will be purchased after 2017.

And the price of an electric bus is likely to drop as big battery factories and larger sales combine in a virtuous cycle of falling prices.

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21 minutes ago, MAX BRT said:

And the price of an electric bus is likely to drop as big battery factories and larger sales combine in a virtuous cycle of falling prices.

That's what they said would happen with hybrid buses, and we certainly haven't seen a significant price drop from 10+ years ago.

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