ABC Companies has hit the road with a North American demo tour of its 100% battery-electric Van Hool motorcoach models along with several zero-emission cutaway shuttle vehicles.
These electric vehicles showcase the potential for transporting 12 to 69 passengers completely emissions-free. The tour’s Van Hool TDX25E Double Deck 69-passenger motorcoach and the CX45E 52-passenger coach use Proterra battery systems and are capable of ranges well over 250 miles per charge.
The tour, which is making stops across the U.S. and Canada, also includes 100% battery-electric cutaway shuttles based on popular chassis options, including the Ford E450. Since early May, the company has sponsored tours and test drives with customers in key regions around the country to showcase the EV models, while creating awareness and educating commercial users, their communities, stakeholders and lawmakers about the benefits of zero-emissions ground transportation.
Highlighting flexibility, range
The tour highlights the flexibility of these vehicles, which can use publicly available chargers. With the growing number of available fast chargers through networks such as Electrify America, the tour has also included a number of long-distance connections between tour stops.
Most recently, the Van Hool TDX25E double deck motorcoach traveled over 2,500 miles from Florida to California exclusively on public chargers. This followed a number of other trips by other tour vehicles showcasing their flexibility across various temperatures, travel speeds, elevations, grades and more.
All vehicles are monitored in real time with telematics systems that capture precise locations, vehicle performance, energy usage, projected ranges and more, providing ongoing learning and real-world data.
The tour has already gained traction with ABC customers utilizing stops to promote EV awareness in their districts, with many having success creating local press events. The tour provides opportunities to demonstrate to customers and riders what is possible now. That has reverberated with elected officials who seek to funnel infrastructure bill money into their communities.
During a recent stop, Tom McCaughey, president and CEO of Flagship Trailways in Cranston, Rhode Island, hosted Senator Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, to discuss infrastructure investments.
Reed, a champion of the bus and motorcoach industry, spoke about the importance of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in both the consumer and transportation markets.
Industry can deliver zero-emissions travel now
“The goal of the ABC Companies Zero Emissions Tour is simple,” said Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer of ABC Companies. “We want customers and communities to understand that zero-emissions coach and shuttle travel is a reality now, even as technology and infrastructure is still growing.
“There are a lot of misconceptions and confusion about what is reality versus what is still in development. Bringing these vehicles directly to our customers demonstrates our confidence in their potential to transform travel now. This is a rare moment in time for the motorcoach and passenger transportation industry to lead a transformation that is top of mind with the public and our government.”
Through the Zero Emissions Tour initiative, ABC Companies is committed to supporting the net-zero sustainability goals of communities, municipalities and regional operations throughout North America. The company’s diverse portfolio of clean-diesel and EV commercial ground transportation vehicles and programs are designed to integrate world-class technology, technical expertise and aftermarket support that focus on a cleaner future.
The ABC Zero Emissions Tour is designed to offer a hands-on EV fleet operation experience while being supported by ABC technical and training expertise. Customers participating in the program not only have access to one of the electric vehicles offered by ABC Companies, but they also receive many of the support elements that make up the ABC Fleet Electrification Services program.
- Driver orientation, including vehicle controls, regenerative braking and energy management.
- Technician orientation, covering charging procedures and high-voltage procedures.
- Access to real-time telematics monitoring, featuring program reporting (vehicle performance, energy consumption, actual and projected range), charging status and current vehicle status.
- 24/7 ABC Technical Support.
“We’ve shaped this program to give our operators the unique ability to experience electric vehicles in their fleets firsthand, which in turn allows them to promote and directly demonstrate to customers and communities their commitment to green transportation and a zero-emissions future,” said Thom Peebles, vice president of marketing of ABC Companies.
Technology fits all markets
As EV auto and commercial vehicle registrations grow exponentially, ABC sees endless possibilities and applications for EVs in fleets of all sizes and compositions.
“Depending upon the application, EVs can help operators take advantage of new and growing niche markets that demand zero-emissions vehicles such as private employee shuttle operations, line runs, university campus loops or any situation that requires large or small group moves,” Peebles said.
Environmentally committed consumers, and most notably younger generations of riders, are amplifying the call for net-zero carbon goals, and operators must answer with green transportation options.
The growth of EVs also is driving the expansion of public charging stations. Local and state leaders nationwide are vying for funds as a large portion of that money is allocated toward the Biden administration’s goal of installing EV charging stations every 50 miles along the country’s major highways.
With the irrefutable future of zero emissions woven firmly into the North American social and environmental landscape, ABC Companies is prepared to help owners understand and create a roadmap to EV integration through its turnkey fleet electrification services.
“We bring much more to the table than just the EV units,” Cornell said. “Our fleet electrification services program is helping operators assess and create a roadmap to sustainability by crystallizing a vision of their fleet operations today and guiding them to the right-fit EV options that can dovetail with existing operations.
“North American roads will look quite different in the coming decades, and ABC Companies is prepared to help public and private operators transition to a sustainable, zero emissions business model designed to optimize current and future operations.”