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There's a more detailed new article on the Charlotte Business Journal from Tuesday on the former DesignLine(now called SPV-Specilized Performance Vehicles)... about how they're still pursuing the Denver RTD mall bus contract, going after the NJ contract, and new production models they have planned.

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Sorry for the misinformation of DesignLine's new name...it'll be interesting to see if Tony Luo will focus on bidding on established fuel bus contracts to get a foothole in the North American market once again, and then in the near future go after alternative power source ones.

Also, DesignLine's website is gone.

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EPV lost their court case against the Denver RTD this morning...the complete story is on today's Charlotte Business Journal website.

Denver RTD is leaving the door open to the possibility of coming to a new agreement with the new DesignLine for buses--presumably MallRide buses:

"The Denver agency’s attorney, David Schilli of Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson in Charlotte, says the Transportation District will still give Wonderland Investment Group Inc. “a very brief period of time” to work out a potential deal.

Wonderland Investment Group recently formed EPV Corp. as DesignLine’s successor. The company plans to resume production in Charlotte. California businessman Tony Luo, as president of Wonderland, acquired DesignLine’s assets for $1.6 million at an October auction. He also bought the assets of Metrolina Steel, also in a bankruptcy auction, for $1.2 million for the purpose of building chassis for the buses.

Wonderland’s attorney, Rick Mitchell, said his client was “disappointed” but appreciated that the Denver agency was “leaving a door open” for negotiations.

“We intend to aggressively pursue that option,” Mitchell said."

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

First off, you expect two competitors to communicate and learn from each other? That's funny.

Second off, Wrightspeed has been around for only 5 years or so, and to the best of my knowledge this whole thing with trucks is brand new to them. They originally got their name by pimping the crap out of Ariel Atoms.

Dan

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Wrightspeed has been developing its drivetrain for urban trucks for a few years. If their drivetrain is better than DesignLines (which I suspect it is) I'd like to see evp corp license it and use it. If its reliable it would be a great fit for buses in urban cores. Both companies would save on the parts by buying together.

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Wrightspeed has been developing its drivetrain for urban trucks for a few years. If their drivetrain is better than DesignLines (which I suspect it is) I'd like to see evp corp license it and use it. If its reliable it would be a great fit for buses in urban cores. Both companies would save on the parts by buying together.

Yeah that's what I was wondering about. With the whole microturbine thing being new I could see having a base design used in multiple types of vehicles working out better for long term service and repair, than EPV going and trying their own thing in a small group of transit buses. Of course the competition aspect, as Dan points out, is a valid one so whether anything ever happens between EPV and Wrightspeed, or another manufacturer, is probably unlikely. At any rate it's interesting to see another player in the heavy-duty vehicle microturbine powertrain field.
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  • 5 months later...

The Charlotte Airport Designline buses are going to be auctioned off - http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/airport-hybrid-buses-be-put-auction-block/ng6JH/

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is being forced to auction 10 hybrid-electric buses because the entire fleet is broken down.

Anchor Scott Wickersham learned why they can't get them fixed.

The airport bought the buses from DesignLine, the Charlotte bus company that former Mayor Anthony Foxx worked for.

The company went bankrupt last year and the airport said it could no longer get any parts or service for the complex hybrid buses and one by one they broke down.

The useless hybrid buses are sitting in a parking lot at the airport.

The airport bought 10 of them from 2007 to 2011 for almost $5 million and they didn't look for better offers.

The airport said it was allowed to enter a no-bid contract with DesignLine under something called a sole-source exemption because they were the only company in the region that makes them.

The buses are now worth whatever they will fetch at an upcoming city auction.

Airport facilities director Mark Weibke said diesel buses usually last seven to 10 years.

“Did we get the life out of the buses we wanted? No,” he said.

A few of the hybrids lasted that long but three they bought in 2011 for $450,000 each had just three years of service.

“With the new technology, it’s not like a diesel our mechanics are used to working on. This takes a lot more technology,” Weibke said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes said he doesn't blame the airport but they should learn from it if they look into buying hybrids again.

“I would want to know if replacements were used in other cities. If there is a high cost. If you get good life out of them,” Barnes said.

It's a lesson that will end up being a costly one for the airport and taxpayers.

The airport is an enterprise fund meaning it makes its own money to pay for things like buses.

But they did use $1 million in taxpayer grants to buy the buses.

Channel 9 tried to contact Foxx for his reaction to this story but did not hear back.

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