Universal Coach Line Orders First Battery-Electric J4500 CHARGE™ Coach in Canada from NFI’s Motor Coach Industries

NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”), a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in electric mass mobility solutions, today announced that its subsidiary Motor Coach Industries (“MCI”) has received a new order from Universal Coach Line (“Universal”) for one battery-electric, forty-five- foot MCI J4500 CHARGE™ coach.

universal coach J4500 CHARGE
The order marks the first purchase of a long-distance, battery-electric MCI J4500 CHARGE™ in Canada.

Serving over 500,000 passengers annually, Universal is one of Canada’s largest privately held providers of over-the-road bus and motor coach tour and charter transport, including commuter express and employee shuttle service to Vancouver and surrounding areas. Based in Richmond, British Columbia (“B.C.”), Universal currently operates MCI J4500 clean diesel coaches and made the shift to zero-emission following a J4500 CHARGE™ demonstration earlier this year.

Paul Soubry, President and Chief Executive Officer, NFI, said:

Universal is a veteran operator and longtime partner of MCI, and together we are creating a zero- emission future for coach travel across Canada. We look forward to supporting the expansion of commuter express service and remobilization of charter service with our J4500 CHARGE – which was made for high performance through unmatched design and exceptional passenger experience.

Universal’s transition to battery-electric mobility fulfils its pledge as a member of West Coast Electric Fleets, a peer network of public and private EV operators from California to British Columbia pursuing a mandate to accelerate a low-carbon economy on the West Coast. Universal also supports and has leveraged British Columbia’s CleanBC Go Electric program, which accelerates the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in BC.

Brent Maitland, Vice President, Private Sector Sales and Marketing, MCI, said:

We are proud to pursue this zero-emission milestone alongside Universal Coach Line, while delivering the same uncompromising design and quality from MCI. With plug-in depot charging in under four hours and an expected range of 370 kilometers, our electric coach is a proven performer in tough road and weather conditions. We look forward to building our zero-emission fleet with Universal in future through continued support, service, and training.

The order, supported by provincial grants and sales tax rebates, marks the first purchase of a long-distance, battery-electric MCI J4500 CHARGE™ in Canada. The J4500 CHARGE™ – a zero-emission version of the industry’s best-selling J series tour and charter luxury coaches – leverages EV technology from NFI subsidiary New Flyer and delivers up to 370 kilometers of range, while also delivering enhanced safety features.

Unveiled in 2021, MCI’s J4500 CHARGE™ incorporates advanced technology to power its high performance, including optimized battery placement for weight distribution and handling; enhanced regeneration for energy recovery and greater efficiency; exceptional torque and gradeability for smoother, more powerful operation; and next generation high-energy batteries. To learn more, visit mcicoach.com/electric.

Universal will use its new electric coach in employee shuttle service and on local tour and charter trips. Earlier in 2021, Universal Coach Line completed a demonstration with the MCI J4500 CHARGE – including a firsthand cleaner, quieter passenger experience.

Lindsay Moir, Vice President, Universal Coach Line, said:

Passengers could easily be heard in conversation, which will make it easier to work and relax onboard. We are thrilled to be the first in Canada to offer passengers an improved, quiet ride, and to offer game-changing zero- emission technology in a tour coach.

The MCI J4500 CHARGE™ continues to deliver on the MCI bestselling model’s best-in-class legroom, dramatic lighting, and passenger comfort features throughout the cabin. The 56-seat model also features Advanced Driver Assistance Systems technology.

NFI is a leader in zero-emission mobility, with electric vehicles operating (or on order) in more than 80 cities in five countries. NFI offers the widest range of zero-emission battery and fuel cell- electric buses and coaches, and its vehicles have completed over 50 million EV service miles.

Today, NFI supports growing North American cities with scalable, clean, and sustainable mobility solutions through a four-pillar approach that includes buses and coaches, technology, infrastructure, and workforce development. NFI also operates the Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”), the first and only innovation lab of its kind dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology and providing workforce development. Since opening late 2017, the VIC has hosted over 300 interactive events, welcoming 4,000 industry professionals for EV and infrastructure training.

This article was originally published by MCI.


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