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Monday, February 06, 2023

Motorcoach manufacturer ABC Companies will soon be the first to offer a motorcoach-diesel-to-electric-repower program for North American operators.

Together with Lightning eMotors, formerly known as Lightning Systems, the partners have created a five-step process for identifying, assessing, and converting a wide range of “donor” diesel coach models that fit the criteria for fast-track battery electric conversion. The repower kits are engineered by Lightning eMotors and will be installed by ABC technicians. The program will launch under ABC Companies SVT (Specialty Vehicles and Technologies) division, underscoring the company’s focus on lowering EV market cost of entry barriers for coach operators.

ABC Bus Companies ABC debuts its first fully battery-electric OEM-produced Van Hool motorcoach, the Van Hool CX45E

Lightning eMotors is a leading developer of zero-emission electric powertrains for a wide variety of commercial vehicles and is certified by CARB and multiple OEM chassis certification programs. 

“ABC Companies has a very long history of repower and refurbishment expertise, making conversions to battery electric power a logical next step,” said Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer of ABC Companies. “By sourcing leading suppliers and manufacturers, we will provide a portfolio of offerings and price points that will enable our customers to accelerate their introduction of zero-emission vehicles into their fleets. Although the pandemic has impacted the motorcoach market, we are working to get traditional vehicles back on the road, while investing now with innovative new solutions which will address customers’ needs for environmentally-friendly vehicles as the industry begins to recover.”

In spite of these challenging times, many ABC customers and the clients they serve are developing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, a trend that was started well before the pandemic, noted Cornell. With the cost of current options that organizations face to reduce their carbon footprint ranging from clean energy like solar panels to the enormous expense of upgrading or building new energy-efficient facilities, battery-electric coaches suddenly become an attractive lower-cost alternative 

ABC Bus Companies

Cornell cited reduced total cost of ownership and monetizing older assets as tangible benefits when specifically looking to add EV Repower to fleets.

In addition to providing a full range of motorcoach zero emission vehicle (ZEV) Repower options, ABC will also be an authorized referral agent for repowering many popular shuttle vans and cutaway applications such as the Lightning Ford Transit passenger van, E-450 and F-550 chassis. “The ability to assist in electric repowered solutions for our customers using these popular vehicles made Lightning eMotors a great fit for ABC Companies,” Cornell said. “Many of our customers utilize these smaller vehicles for various short distance routes, such as airport runs and hotel shuttles, as well as last-mile services for smaller groups. These vehicles can provide a lower cost of entry as fleets identify vehicles to be repowered, and we need to be ready to meet those needs.”

The first repowered motorcoach, a 2012 Van Hool T2145 will be going into operation in the San Francisco area this month, while other motorcoach models are being readied as this is written.

ABC will also debut its first fully battery-electric OEM-produced Van Hool motorcoach later in 2020, the Van Hool CX45E. Featured at the 2020 UMA Expo and designed specifically for battery electric power, this new coach from Van Hool will change the way the industry views zero-emissions motorcoach travel. 

“We must continually reassess our offering based on customer needs,” Cornell said. “Aligning with the right partners to bring scalable and flexible solutions to our customers is what drives our business strategies. Whether our customer needs an EV passenger van or a double-deck motorcoach, ABC is ready to help any sized fleet operator shape a solution around their resources and requirements for the long-term.”

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