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Thursday, February 02, 2023

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the biggest events dedicated to all things tech, doesn’t even open in Las Vegas until later this week, but it’s already creating a swarm of buzzy news stories that will likely impact our industry.

Volvo Volvo EX90 all-electric SUV exterior

There’s certainly plenty on the list to satiate your personal needs—think new smartphone, TV, and computer releases; anti-snoring pillows; health trackers that border on invasive; and everything you need for a smart home—but most interesting will be the announcements surrounding vehicle technology, a growing field for the show. The market is already flush with ideas, so you can expect big announcements from companies like Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, and Audi, to name a few.

Volvo Volvo EX90 all-electric SUV interior

Volvo is already grabbing headlines with the debut of its seven-seat EX90 all-electric SUV (range around 300 miles) on January 3, which the OEM is calling a “new era for safety” for the company. The sensor-rich vehicle, or what the OEM says is a “highly advanced computer on wheels,” is expected to be built in South Carolina starting later this year and is available for pre-order with an anticipated MSRP south of $80K. Volvo says it collaborated with some of the most advanced companies in their fields to deliver smarter, safer, more sustainable driving. The vehicle shown at CES features Google and Luminar displays.

Sony and Honda are also expected to show off the latest of their partnership (Sony Honda Mobility), which is rumored to be a crossover vehicle of some kind. The company says its on track to have a road-worthy offering by 2025, although the details are under wraps for now.

Mercedes-Benz has been touting its “Tech to Desire” theme for at least the past month, and is expected to announce more about its electrification strategy. According to a December press release from the OEM, they and their collaborators will also discuss automated driving features that give back time, and explain how new developments in in-car audio, streaming, and entertainment will generate customer excitement.

CES

Although Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, is getting a lot of buzz about its Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept, they also promise updates with vehicles other than trucks. Previews are expected to include the first North American applications of new Stellantis connectivity and the introduction of the latest developments in its commitment to launch the first Chrysler battery electric vehicle in 2025 and offer a full battery electric portfolio in 2028.

Finally, Audi is promising a trippy new vehicle experience with its holoride technology, which blends real world impacts on the car with virtual reality and gaming. We’re not sure how this will benefit the industry yet, but it sure does sound cool.

The show gets started this Thursday, January 5 and runs through the 8th. We’ll be sure to pass along any groundbreaking new projects and tech that could be coming soon to a vehicle near you.

[01.03.23]

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has announced that it has delivered its first battery-electric J4500 coaches in North America, with two battery-electric, zero-emission J4500 CHARGE 45-foot coaches going to a California Bay Area operator.

MCI MCI J4500 CHARGE zero-emission motorcoach

The battery-electric, zero-emission luxury coaches feature spacious interiors with industry-leading legroom and will complement clean-diesel models in the California Bay Area employee shuttle market. Technology companies in the Bay Area first introduced employee commuting in the late 1990s to offer alternative commuter options to supplement local public transportation.

“MCI is proud to deliver our first battery-electric J4500 CHARGE coaches to the Bay Area employee shuttle market,” said MCI Vice President, Sales and Marketing Brent Maitland. “This growing market continues to advance employee transportation, making commuter shuttle service even more environmentally friendly, inviting, and comfortable. The employee shuttle market is an excellent application for MCI's EVs as their range covers the length of the shuttle service routes and does not require a large amount of baggage bay space. MCI has rigorously tested J4500 CHARGE coach for this business segment throughout location in the US and Canada to ensure its high performance for our customers.”

Introduced in 2021, the J4500 CHARGE is a zero-emission version of the industry’s best-selling J series tour and charter luxury coach. Powered by American-made, high-energy batteries, the J4500 CHARGE leverages EV technology from New Flyer and delivers a range of over 230 miles (544 kWh) on a single charge.

All MCI battery-electric coaches incorporate advanced EV technology, including enhanced regeneration for energy recovery and greater efficiency, a smooth-riding suspension and a high-torque electric drive system for efficient performance at highway speeds. Designed for long-distance applications, MCI electric coaches deliver plug-in battery charging to 100 percent four hours or less.

NFI is a leader in zero-emission mobility, with electric vehicles operating (or on order) in more than 120 cities in six countries. NFI offers the widest range of zero-emission battery and fuel cell-electric buses and coaches, and its vehicles have completed over 85 million EV service miles.

Visit mcicoach.com for more information.

[01.03.23]

Planning ahead for your meeting attendance in 2023? Keep yourself informed and connected to other members of the industry by attending these important meetings. You can also view meetings for the rest of the year on Chauffeur Driven’s Industry Events page. This list is ongoing and accurate as of 12/27/22.

1/10-1/14 United Motorcoach Association
Motorcoach Expo (Orlando, Fla.)

1/17 Illinois Limousine & Bus Association
Coffee With ILLBA Zoom call

1/23-1/24 Global Business Travel Association
Leadership Summit (Los Angeles, Calif.)

2/4-2/7 American Bus Association
Marketplace (Detroit, Mich.)

2/15 Limousine Association of New Jersey
General Meeting

2/28-3/1 California Bus Association
29th Annual Maintenance Seminar (Hayward)

2/28-3/1 Wisconsin Motorcoach Association
Convention and Tradeshow (Milwaukee)

3/5-3/8 CD/NLA Show
MGM Grand (Las Vegas)

3/13-3/14 Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association
Spring Meeting (Bethlehem, Pa.)

3/27-3/28 Pennsylvania Bus Association
Marketplace (Morgantown)

4/25-4/26 National Limousine Association
Day on the Hill (Washington, D.C.)

5/17 Limousine Association of New Jersey
General Meeting

6/4-6/6 CD/NLA Executive Retreat
Nashville Hilton Downtown

6/4-6/6 Tennessee Motor Coach Association
Meet & Greet

6/18-6/21 Pennsylvania Bus Association
Annual Meeting (Jamestown, N.Y.)

8/1-8/3 Midwest Bus & Motorcoach Association
Annual Convention (Branson, Mo.)

8/13-8/15 Global Business Travel Association
Convention 2023 (Dallas, Texas)

9/26 Maryland Motorcoach Association
Annual Group Leader Travel Showcase (Lancaster, Pa.)

10/22-10/25 CD/NLA Show
Gaylord Palms (Orlando, Fla.)

Would you like to add your event to our annual calendar? Let us know! Email susan@chauffeurdriven.com or rob@chauffeurdriven.com to be included in our calendar.

[12.27.22]