ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. in Middlebury, Indiana, has announced a partnership to electrify ARBOC Freedom low-floor buses with the XL Hybrid (XLHTM) electric propulsion system.
The wheelchair-accessible buses are built on the GM 4500 chassis and are now available for purchase with an installed XL Hybrid system through the ARBOC North American dealer network. ARBOC has sold 39 vehicles with the XL Hybrid system installed thus far in 2021.
Through the partnership, 24-foot and 29-foot ARBOC low-floor bus models are available for the first time as hybrid electric units. The model provides a cost-effective option for customers looking to improve fuel economy, lower emissions and advance their sustainability goals without adding charging infrastructure or disrupting their existing operations.
The XL Hybrid electric system runs in parallel to the OEM vehicle drivetrain, helping to slow down the vehicle during deceleration and providing an electric assist during acceleration throughout normal drive cycles. This results in reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions in standard gas-powered vehicles.
“We are pleased to announce this strategic partnership with XL Fleet to bring hybrid electric propulsion systems to our ARBOC Freedom low-floor buses,” said Paul Soubry, President and CEO of NFI. “As NFI continues to lead the evolution to zero-emission — the ZEvolution — we continue to look for creative solutions to bring the best low- and zero-emission products and solutions to our customers.
“Our strategy of being propulsion agnostic has served us well, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach for the evolution to zero-emission mobility. This strategic partnership will allow us to bring a new hybrid electric accessible low-floor solution to operators who want to decrease their operating costs in a sustainable and equitable way.”
New commercial channel
Individual partners within the ARBOC North American dealer network are now authorized to sell the XL Fleet electrification system as an available option on their buses. This provides a new commercial channel for the company as it expands into a broader range of medium-duty applications.
“The bus industry represents a substantial electrification opportunity for XL Fleet, and we are excited to gain access to a great new customer base by partnering with an accessible bus market leader like ARBOC,” said Dimitri Kazarinoff, CEO of XL Fleet. “This partnership allows us to expand our growing suite of products, broaden our customer reach, and bring new and unique solutions to market for bus fleets needing an immediate path forward for their sustainability goals.”
“The ARBOC Freedom is an innovative low-floor platform allowing riders using wheelchairs and other mobility devices to safely and comfortably get where they need to go. Now, they can do so in a cleaner, greener vehicle,” said ARBOC General Manager Doug Minix. “XL Fleet’s innovative hybrid electric upfit technology gives our customers an opportunity to drive more sustainable versions of the ARBOC vehicle lineup without compromising our reliability while enhancing our world-class performance.”