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New Flyer Xcelsior

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1 hour ago, MAX BRT said:

In reply to Frozen Yogurt:

Regarding CO2 emissions, electric buses are already cleaner than diesel and natural gas. Read about the 2016 research from the Union of Concerned Scientists here:

https://blog.ucsusa.org/jimmy-odea/trucks-and-buses-the-next-frontier-in-electric-vehicles

 

The problem here isn't that if they are cleaner, my issue is that can they handle the streets of New York. That's the issue.

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8 hours ago, Chris.A said:

The problem here isn't that if they are cleaner, my issue is that can they handle the streets of New York. That's the issue.

I"m sure they can. (Not quite so sure about BYD, but XE40 and Proterra? Yeah.)

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On 12/14/2018 at 11:56 PM, Frozen Yogurt said:

Maybe someone can fill in the blank here, but I have a question about electric buses: what about the electricity generation/battery production end?

To make a battery, rare metals are required, and to find that we need to mine, often in developing countries with harsh conditions. It seems to me that we here are basing our reduction in emissions by exploiting more other people in other countries. As the demand for electric vehicle grows, aren't we only shifting what we extirpate, instead of fossil fuel we extirpate rare metals? Also, from the raw mineral to a finished battery, doesn't that use lots of energy as well? transportation, manufacture of batteries, refineries, etc.?

How is that any different than internal combustion? Steel and aluminum are mined and refined (although there is the caveat about aluminum reuse, which is substantial), and frankly one could write paragraphs about the issues with pulling hydrocarbon chains out of the earth. And they are used in LOTS of places on something like a bus - not just fueling and lubrication, but interior panels, seals, wiring....

 

Not only that, but keep in mind too that batteries can be reused once their life-cycle is completed in a vehicle battery pack. Tesla's PowerWall is a fascinating study into what can be done, and that's just one potential application.

 

No matter what, we're kind of screwed one way or the other in terms of the overall costs, both monetarily and environmentally. The challenge now is to find the best way of balancing them.

 

Dan

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On 12/15/2018 at 12:16 PM, Chris.A said:

The problem here isn't that if they are cleaner, my issue is that can they handle the streets of New York. That's the issue.

And that's a big 'ol steaming pile of horseshit if I've ever seen one.

 

This, folks, is the classic straw man argument. The OP - you - makes a half-thought out point, and have it refuted - brilliantly, I might add - with facts and references to back it up, not hearsay and speculation. Then come back after the fact and say "oh, what I really mean is" - to which they double-down on whatever garbage they are spewing.

 

Tell you what - you can go away now quietly with your tail between your legs, and frankly most of us won't even think about this whole thing in the morning.

 

But something tells me that this isn't what's going to happen, is it?

 

Dan

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1 hour ago, smallspy said:

And that's a big 'ol steaming pile of horseshit if I've ever seen one.

 

This, folks, is the classic straw man argument. The OP - you - makes a half-thought out point, and have it refuted - brilliantly, I might add - with facts and references to back it up, not hearsay and speculation. Then come back after the fact and say "oh, what I really mean is" - to which they double-down on whatever garbage they are spewing.

 

Tell you what - you can go away now quietly with your tail between your legs, and frankly most of us won't even think about this whole thing in the morning.

 

But something tells me that this isn't what's going to happen, is it?

 

Dan

Look, I'm not here to bash anyone or make a scene, I'm merely just stating my concerns of such a new and shaky method to power buses and the expenses that come with it. If the entire fleet of some 5700-6000 buses are going 100% electric in 21 short years, then they better have the research and data to back it up.

 

 

Chris .A

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25 minutes ago, Chris.A said:

Look, I'm not here to bash anyone or make a scene, I'm merely just stating my concerns of such a new and shaky method to power buses and the expenses that come with it. If the entire fleet of some 5700-6000 buses are going 100% electric in 21 short years, then they better have the research and data to back it up.

 

 

Chris .A

Except it's not new, is it?

 

Batteries have been around for over 100 years. Hell, there were battery-powered railcars and locomotives 100 years ago. Trucks and cars, too.

 

The difference is now that the physics and chemical science is finally catching up. The technology exists to allow a vehicle to get hundreds of miles on a charge and run for a full day of service. Or, to charge a battery in just minutes and allow it to run for an hour.

 

Are we at the point where everyone should be changing over whole-hog to nothing but batteries? Oh hell no. But are we getting close? Slowly but surely, each day we get a little closer. And the small steps that a lot of properties are taking are helping reach that future.

 

Dan

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21 minutes ago, tommike said:

do any think the a/c need be change with more transit going to LCD sceens?

Are you talking about those A/C units on the roof of the bus towards the front?

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On ‎12‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 8:29 PM, MAX BRT said:

I"m sure they can. (Not quite so sure about BYD, but XE40 and Proterra? Yeah.)

FYI, the Proterras have been failing miserably lately. Most haven't seen service out of Grand Ave depot  in about a month.... 

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Just thinking out loud here, but does anyone think NFI might give the Xcelsior model a facelift in the next few years, or roll out a new model? Or will it probably stay modern looking enough to not need any changes in the near future? The Xcelsior is 11 years old now, so it's not new anymore. However the main competition to it is the LFS and the Low Floor. LFS is way older styling wise (yes I know a 1998 LFS looks different than a 2019 one, but still overall the same boxy shape with curved front) and obviously the Low Floor has been around a while now as well. Personally for looks I think the Xcelsior is still one of the better looking transit buses out there in the North American market.

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1 hour ago, MVTArider said:

Just thinking out loud here, but does anyone think NFI might give the Xcelsior model a facelift in the next few years, or roll out a new model? Or will it probably stay modern looking enough to not need any changes in the near future? The Xcelsior is 11 years old now, so it's not new anymore. However the main competition to it is the LFS and the Low Floor. LFS is way older styling wise (yes I know a 1998 LFS looks different than a 2019 one, but still overall the same boxy shape with curved front) and obviously the Low Floor has been around a while now as well. Personally for looks I think the Xcelsior is still one of the better looking transit buses out there in the North American market.

It would be nice; from 1993 to 2006 the D40LF pretty much looked the same. :P Then, the D40LFR was pretty much the same body with a restyled front end.

Given that NFI is now a bus manufacturer powerhouse, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a new model at some point soon. Putting the minds together of New Flyer, Motor Coach Industries, and Alexander Dennis could result in a pretty cool product.

The MCI D45 CRT LE was conceived after the merger of NFI and MCI. So we'll see what's next!

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Just a couple of slightly off topic questions:

1, Is the transit industry in North America among the most conservative in the developed world?

2. If yes, what contribute to the conservative styling in North American transit buses such that a basic design often last for a decade or two?

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9 hours ago, MVTArider said:

Just thinking out loud here, but does anyone think NFI might give the Xcelsior model a facelift in the next few years, or roll out a new model? Or will it probably stay modern looking enough to not need any changes in the near future? The Xcelsior is 11 years old now, so it's not new anymore. However the main competition to it is the LFS and the Low Floor. LFS is way older styling wise (yes I know a 1998 LFS looks different than a 2019 one, but still overall the same boxy shape with curved front) and obviously the Low Floor has been around a while now as well. Personally for looks I think the Xcelsior is still one of the better looking transit buses out there in the North American market.

First off, the transit agencies don't really give that much weight to things like "looks", at least not the vast majority of cases. (Yes, I know that there are some outliers - I'm looking at you, YRT - but they are most certainly not the rule, and maybe account for a minute fraction of a percent of the total sales in the industry.) So if they do roll out a new model in the next couple of years, it won't have anything to do with such flimsy marketing wank such as "curb appeal" and "modern styling!!1!".

 

No, the reason why they WILL offer a new model in the next couple of years (yes, I said will - I'm this confident about it) is because the industry, and more importantly, how the buses are being powered, is changing drastically. As good and versitile as a design as the Xcelsior may be, it is ultimately still just a bus designed to hold a diesel engine and mechanical transmission. As battery power becomes more prevalent and the technologies around it mature and improve, the current design will become more and more of a hindrance and will start to negatively affect sales. (Yes, NFI will have fully amortized all of the R&D and tooling for the design, but keeping costs down won't help you much if your design is only half-as-capable as that of your competitors.) I don't know if we'll see them go as far as Proterra with a composite body - although NFI certainly has a bit of institutional experience with this, having bought NABI - but I'm certain that we will see a new design that will be optimized for a battery-electric drivetrain. And to the detriment of all other types of power.

 

And for those same reasons, I can totally see Nova doing the same as well, although I'm willing to attach far more of a caveat to this with them than I am with NFI. While their parent company seems to have extremely deep pockets, they also seem to be less willing to share that funding with them.

 

Dan

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2 minutes ago, Buzz2kb said:

Just a couple of slightly off topic questions:

1, Is the transit industry in North America among the most conservative in the developed world?

2. If yes, what contribute to the conservative styling in North American transit buses such that a basic design often last for a decade or two?

Gillig and NovaBus are certainly conservative, but I think New Flyer hasn't exactly been standing still - they are the one builder that has attempted not once but twice since the 1990's to introduce a brand new design (first the Invero and then the Xcelsior), and they were an early adopter of both CNG and hybrid-battery propulsion.  They also took a chance introducing the MiDi bus to the North American market and under their ownership MCI has introduced a new commuter coach in the D45 CRT LE.  You also see numerous operators taking a chance right now with BYD and Proterra coaches.  

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1 hour ago, RailBus63 said:

Gillig and NovaBus are certainly conservative.  

So what contribute to the styling conservatism at these two manufacturers?

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Almost all commercial vehicle manufacturers are “conservative” when it comes to styling and design. Not just transit buses, look at transport trucks, they go decades without major styling changes. You could take the door off a 1985 Peterbilt and it will probably fit on a 2010. In my opinion there are two main reasons.

1. Trucks and buses are sold based on lifecycle. They aren’t replaced just to have a nicer look, they are replaced when their lifecycle is finished. This is the opposite of something like a passenger car, where the automaker will change the styling often so that people think their car “looks old” and will replace it faster, even if the car still works fine, and give more money to the automaker. That gives the car makers incentive to redesign often. A transit bus will be in service 15-20 years regardless of how it looks, so there is no incentive for the manufacturer to change things. A transit agency won’t really care if their brand new order of buses looks identical to the 20 year old buses they are replacing.

2. Changing the styling increases costs to both the customer and the manufacturer. Say a transit agency has a multi year contract for buses, if the headlights, grille, window shape, doors, etc change every few years, that is just more parts they need to stock and source when it comes to repair and maintenance.

That is also one of the reasons a car like the Ford Crown Victoria went without any major changes from 1998 to 2011. It was a selling feature since when a police department bought a new car they could just take all their older equipment (console, prisoner cages, light bars) and put it on a new car without big changes.

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Crash testing is expensive too: https://www.autoblog.com/2007/10/19/how-crash-tests-work/

Not to mention training costs for a different model of bus - all operators would have to undergo training for changes made.

12 hours ago, smallspy said:

And for those same reasons, I can totally see Nova doing the same as well, although I'm willing to attach far more of a caveat to this with them than I am with NFI. While their parent company seems to have extremely deep pockets, they also seem to be less willing to share that funding with them.

I would love to see the Volvo transit buses make their way to North America. I think Prevost experimenting with the Volvo 9700 hasn't really gone very well in terms of market uptake. I don't know what factors are contributing to that though, eg. perhaps higher cost to import and modify to North American highway requirements.

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17 hours ago, whistler said:

Almost all commercial vehicle manufacturers are “conservative” when it comes to styling and design. Not just transit buses, look at transport trucks, they go decades without major styling changes. You could take the door off a 1985 Peterbilt and it will probably fit on a 2010. In my opinion there are two main reasons.

1. Trucks and buses are sold based on lifecycle. They aren’t replaced just to have a nicer look, they are replaced when their lifecycle is finished. This is the opposite of something like a passenger car, where the automaker will change the styling often so that people think their car “looks old” and will replace it faster, even if the car still works fine, and give more money to the automaker. That gives the car makers incentive to redesign often. A transit bus will be in service 15-20 years regardless of how it looks, so there is no incentive for the manufacturer to change things. A transit agency won’t really care if their brand new order of buses looks identical to the 20 year old buses they are replacing.

And when comparing the North American market to that elsewhere....

 

As an example, buses are operated in service for longer in North America than they are generally anywhere else. Because of that, fewer are purchased each year - meaning that the ROI and amortization for tooling and R&D takes longer as well. In Europe and Asia, enough buses are purchased each year that not only can a whole host of manufacturers be supported (rather than just the 3 big ones in North America), but that they can justify smaller and more incremental changes each couple of years. Changes become evolutionary to the design, rather than reactionary.

 

17 hours ago, whistler said:

2. Changing the styling increases costs to both the customer and the manufacturer. Say a transit agency has a multi year contract for buses, if the headlights, grille, window shape, doors, etc change every few years, that is just more parts they need to stock and source when it comes to repair and maintenance.

This is a double-edged sward, though. You are right - the agencies would prefer that these parts don't change. But the manufacturers would, so that they can sell them a whole host of new spares that the agencies didn't already have in their warehouses. And honestly, the real money is in the spare parts - manufacturing the bus is just the way to get there.

 

17 hours ago, whistler said:

That is also one of the reasons a car like the Ford Crown Victoria went without any major changes from 1998 to 2011. It was a selling feature since when a police department bought a new car they could just take all their older equipment (console, prisoner cages, light bars) and put it on a new car without big changes.

In fairness, that was a bit of a peculiar case as the Crown Vic stopped being sold for non-fleet operations in about 2005 or so. At the end of its life it's sole raison-d'être was to be a durable four-door fleet vehicle. It was never going to be sold in quantities big enough to justify a facelift or a retooling. Just like the Checker taxi, which was built from 1960-mumble to about 1982.

 

Dan

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