- Bus manufacturer New Flyer has created a business unit, New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions, dedicated to helping cities and agencies transition to zero-emission bus systems.
- The team will provide mobility and charging solutions for cities' projects by conducting site visits, providing design and engineering services, overseeing infrastructure installation partners, focusing on energy management, coordinating Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification and overseeing grid-to-bus testing.
- The Infrastructure Solutions team will be based out of the Anniston, AL Vehicle Innovation Center, which opened in late 2017 with a focus on advancements and investments in bus and infrastructure technology, innovation, manufacturing and jobs.
Cities and their transit agencies have made a renewed push toward adopting more environmentally-friendly transit fleets — namely battery-electric buses. But they face many challenges in making the transition to greener fleets.
Budgetary constraints force many cities to add electric buses only a few at a time instead of replacing an entire fleet. A recent report said electric transit buses are 40% more expensive than diesel versions. Although electric buses are said to provide cost savings over the course of their lifecycle, the up-front cost is a huge barrier for purchasers. The federal government recently has increased its efforts to help cities buy more environmentally-friendly vehicles by offering a number of grant programs aimed at bus system improvements and low- or no-emission transit projects.
Another challenge with adopting electric transportation is implementing a comprehensive network, as opposed to just dropping a few electric vehicles into a traditional network. Supportive infrastructure, interoperability with power grids and system education are important elements, but also difficult ones for cities to tackle on their own. New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions' complete program management could provide cities the guidance necessary for making investments that are long-term sustainable.