North American Bus Industries 40C-LFW

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Years of manufacture 1999, 2001 to 2004
Length 40 feet
Width 102 inches
Power/Fuel Diesel, CNG

The North American Bus Industries 40C-LFW is a 40 foot low floor composite transit bus or "Compobus". The composite body was made from a glass- and carbon-fiber reinforced, vinyl-ester resin laminate. This resulted in a lightweight, one-piece body. The 40C-LFW shares its appearance with the conventional steel 40-LFW unlike the later composite 45C-LFW. The bus made its debut at the 1999 Union of Public Transport City Transport Expo in Toronto, Ontario and was later displayed at the 1999 American Public Transportation Association EXPO in Orlando, Florida.[1]


In the late 1990s, NABI secured an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with TPI Composites for the use of the Seaman Composite Resin Infused Molding Process (SCRIMP) to manufacture heavy-duty buses. This is the same process the Federal Transit Administration's cancelled ATTB used. Along with with lighter seats, windows, and engine, the composite material allowed for a weight of 22,222 pounds. Los Angeles negotiated a change to a contract for their last 20 buses to be produced using the composite design. However, there were delays after TPI and NABI conflicted over payment for the production of the composite shells which weren't settled until 2001.[1]

In 2002, NABI applied to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a waiver of Buy America regulations for content and final assembly for 10 years in order to develop the Compobus. NABI made its case by stating the bus would spur an increase in ridership, support advanced propulsion development, and have higher crash resistance. The FTA approved the waiver, but for two years, in March 2002. A new Compobus plant was built in Kaposvar, Hungary where the buses were produced.[2]

Parts had to be shipped from the United States to Hungary where they were installed. The completed bus was then shipped back to the US for delivery. Adding to the time to build the bus was the composite process which NABI was unsuccessful to streamline. The use of heavy-duty equipment and agency specification for heavier features such as stainless steel seating, reduced the weight savings to only 2,000 pounds less than their conventional 40 foot model. The manufacturing costs were not envisioned and thus not figured into NABI’s pricing with the early CompoBus customers. As the Hungarian Forint appreciated rapidly against the US dollar later in production, goods in Europe became more expensive. However, prices were set at time of contract award. NABI began raising the price of the Compobus. Soon, the 40C-LFW's only benefit was fuel and other operational savings.[2] Los Angeles would later placed orders for the 45C-LFW, however.




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Demonstrator/Engineering Units

Thumbnail Build
VIN Engine Transmission Notes
1999 1N940CP11XA140323 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP500
  • Prototype #1 40CP1-LFW.
  • Image[3]
  • Stored at the Ikarus factory in Budapest, Hungary. It was spotted there in 2018.[4]
1999 1N940CP2XXA140438
1999 1N940CP3XXA140533 Cummins C8.3G ZF 5HP500
  • CNG Powered
  • Prototype #3 40CP3-LFW.
  • It debuted at the 1999 Union of Public Transport City Transport Expo in Toronto, ON.
  • Displayed at the 1999 APTA EXPO in Orlando, FL.[6]
  • Altoona test bus from January 21, 2000 to November 3, 2000.[7]

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Henke, Cliff (May 2005). The Death of a Radical Idea. Metro Magazine (Torrence).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henke, Cliff (June 2005). The Death of a Radical Idea Part 2. Metro Magazine (Torrence). Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  4. photo 1 & photo 2
  6. 6.0 6.1 &
NABI - a brand of New Flyer Industries
(all models discontinued as of 2015)
High Floor 416436
Low Floor (LFW) 30-LFN31-LFW35-LFW40-LFW60-LFW
Low Floor (BRT) 37-BRT42-BRT60-BRT65-BRT
Low Floor (Composite) 30C-LF40C-LFWMetro 45C (45C-LFW)