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MCI J4500e electric coach prototype reaches highway speed and reliability targets in test runs; on sale in 2020

Motor Coach Industries (MCI), the US subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. (NFI Group), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, announced that its all-electric J4500e prototype—a battery-electric version of J4500 coach—successfully completed its phase one testing. MCI said that the coach ran flawlessly at both low and high speeds up to a sustained 70 mph (113 km/h) on the highway. The all-electric J4500e coach is on schedule for January 2020 production and orders are being taken now.


The electric architecture incorporated in the MCI J4500e features a high-torque 2130 lb-ft (2888 N·m) Siemens electric drive system and a 450 kWh Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Li-ion battery pack with high power plug-in battery charging to 100% in less than three hours. MCI will also apply the battery-electric platform to the D45 CRT LE Commuter Coach followed by the electric 35-foot MCI J giving operators the most comprehensive choices in purpose-built, all-electric coaches.

We’re enormously pleased by these early test results—our all-electric J4500e delivered smooth power across varied roadways and impressive results in acceleration, handling and ride quality. MCI has covered electric territory before with hybrid diesel-electric coaches built in early 2000s that are still in service, but with the all-electric platform, we’re benefitting from New Flyer’s long time, battery-electric low-floor transit expertise.

—JP Pelletier, Vice President of MCI Engineering

MCI President Ian Smart said that customers will have a range of charging options: standard depot charging, on-route systems or a multi-charge design.

MCI will now move its all-electric J4500 test to Northern California, where public and private operators are eyeing all-electric expansion for their key customers. Major Silicon Valley technology employers are expanding their own private coach shuttle systems attractive to millennial workforces. Success in this market requires a deep understanding of how employer operators will be using these coaches.

NFI Group provides a comprehensive suite of mass transportation solutions under several brands: New Flyer (heavy-duty transit buses); ARBOC (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses); MCI (motor coaches); and NFI Parts (bus and coach parts, support, and service). NFI Group’s vehicles incorporate the widest range of drive systems available ranging from clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, trolley-electric, battery-electric, and fuel cell-electric.

Motor Coach Industries is North America’s motor coach leader, offering the J Series, the industry’s best-selling intercity coach for 11 consecutive years; and the D Series, the industry’s best-selling motor coach line in North American history. MCI actively supports over 28,000 coaches currently in service.



Looks like buses will lead the way to clean energy in mass transit.

I'd bet it is going to Marin Transit, Golden Gate or Alameda/Sonoma, does anyone know? Let's post some video to youtube..super cool!

I'm asking Austin and Texas metros to buy these, join me!


I'd still add a 100 - 200 Kw Generator, maybe based on CNG (or just diesel), to extend the range and give you some extra "get you home" range.
Also, if you used the genset for say 1/2 the time, you would have less recharging to do and could turn the bus around quicker.


With a full charge, this e-bus should get close to 500 miles range at 100 Km max and good weather conditions.

However the range could drop by 25% to 30% or so, at higher speed and adverse terrain and/or weather conditions.

A three (3) hour recharge will take/make a very long lunch break.

A small FC range extender could reduce the number of batteries by 50% or more and solve max range restriction?


A couple of more years of battery development will solve the range restriction without the added cost and complexity of a FC, hydrogen stations, and delivery.


Allow for a 500 mile round trip route with a stop for disembark, meal and embark during which there is a 1 hr. charge up, and you have a full day shift for a driver.


Yes Paroway.

The first shift could manage on a one hour recharge at mid-shift, but the 2nd shift would have to start with discharged batteries or have this expensive bus sit around for 3+ hours for full recharge?

Improved (4X to 5X) batteries (up to 1000 kWh) will solve the range problems but may cost a lot more than a 100 to 125 kW range extender FC.?


If you are doing highways you want a PHEV.

Can not wait to get one of these gems decked out with dual super-slides for the Electric Car Guest Drive.

With a full week between cities, this thing could be charged at 1.4kW and still make the rounds all over the US.

Most RV resorts have 240 40a or 50a service. At 9.6kW, this bad boy is fully charged in 47 hours, probably 48 with taper.

You could keep moving every couple of days using existing facilities all over the US, with zero inconvenience and a fuel cost n the order of $0.10 per mile, $54 for a 500 mile run.

That is a beautiful thing to behold.

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