WINNIPEG, Nov. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - (TSX: NFI) (TSX: NFI.DB.U) New Flyer Industries Inc. ("New Flyer" or the "Company"), the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in Canada and the United States announced today that Winnipeg Transit will begin daily service using up to four New Flyer Xcelsior® battery-electric transit buses.
The buses will be in daily operation on a 40 kilometer, two-hour route starting at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, making its way through the city center to East Kildonan and returning to the airport. The route was chosen as its length, speeds and loads are typical of many central business district routes in Canada and USA. Winnipeg Airports Authority permitted New Flyer to install a high power charging station at the airport, a project that completed in October of 2014.
"We didn't want an easy route," said Paul Soubry, New Flyer's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We encouraged Winnipeg Transit to select a route that would showcase the technological capability of our Xcelsior battery-electric bus in a real life in-service situation that will experience a wide range of weather and traffic conditions."
Soubry explained, "Once at the airport the bus drives up to the charging station and, while passengers are loading or disembarking, a roof mounted pantograph (similar to the proven technology used in city trams around the world) connects seamlessly with the overhead charger interface. After approximately a 10 minute charge, the bus has fully replenished the energy consumed in the previous two-hour route. For added operational flexibility the battery capacity allows the bus to operate for five hours without recharge and by charging on route, the bus can maintain service for more than 20 hours a day, seven days a week."
The project is a continuing collaboration between New Flyer, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Red River College and Winnipeg Transit. The project team which started the effort in May of 2011, received additional assistance in October 2012 when Sustainable Development Technology Canada ("SDTC") announced funding on behalf of the Government of Canada of $3.4 million to take the project from prototype to full production and field demonstration, and in 2014 when Manitoba's Vehicle Technology Center provided an additional $94,000 for charging station development.
"This electric bus project is a key element in Manitoba's Clean Energy Strategy and supports our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of effective, cost-efficient, renewable energy," said Eric Robinson, Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro. "Our innovative advancements in clean energy technologies have contributed to our placement as the first in Canada to employ the new, unique on-route rapid charging system, promoting affordable public transportation and electric vehicle knowledge which will create jobs."
"Part of our vision for Winnipeg's future includes supporting technology and innovation, especially when it is homegrown and the end-users who benefit from it are Winnipeggers," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "During a time of rising fuel costs and anticipated rising tourism from the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, the City of Winnipeg is proud to add eco-friendly buses to our current Winnipeg Transit fleet and provide better transit options for Winnipeggers."
"Our government is positioning Canada as a global leader in the clean technology sector by supporting innovative projects aimed at producing and using energy in cleaner and more efficient ways. This project exemplifies the work being done by our government to build our economy while benefiting our environment," said Lawrence Toet, Member of Parliament for Elmwood—Transcona.
Zero-emission battery-electric propulsion transit buses are expected to significantly reduce green house gas and smog-causing criteria air contaminant emissions. In Manitoba, where the electrical grid is highly renewable (nearly 100 percent of electricity is generated without burning fuel), the use of electric propulsion buses are expected to translate to an estimated reduction of 160 tonnes of green house gas emissions, per bus, per year.
"Manitoba Hydro is proud to be a part of the Manitoba Electric Transit Bus project and to have applied our expertise in the distribution and use of energy to development of the rapid charging station at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport," said Scott Thomson, Manitoba Hydro President and Chief Executive Officer. "As a full-service energy utility, we welcome opportunities to support development of environmentally-friendly technologies that promote safe, reliable and efficient use of our renewable electricity resource; and to work closely with customers and industry to ensure these technologies can be incorporated into our distribution system."
"Red River College is proud to support community economic development as a participant in this project," said David Rew, Interim President & CEO, Red River College. "Our instructors, staff and students have all contributed to the success of the consortium and we look forward to the zero emissions bus going into commercial use at many transit authorities across North America."
"Winnipeg Transit is excited to be part of the testing and development team for this innovative project," said Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit. "We believe that the Xcelsior electric buses hold tremendous promise for Transit's future with the potential for lower operating costs and reduced emissions. We are extremely pleased that our long standing partnerships, and new relationships, continue to yield dividends for our customers and for our community."
"Core to our operations is the principal of working with community to lead transportation innovation and to do so in a sustainable manner," said Barry Rempel, President & CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority. "This project is proof of that concept and we are proud that Canada's greenest terminal at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is the first in North America to provide an environmentally friendly transit bus rapid charge station."
All dollar amounts in this release are stated in Canadian currency.
About New Flyer
New Flyer is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the United States and Canada. The Company is the industry technology leader and offers the broadest product line of transit buses including drive systems powered by: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, electric trolley and now, battery-electric. All buses are supported by an industry-leading comprehensive warranty and support program, and service network. New Flyer also operates the industry's most sophisticated aftermarket parts organization, sourcing parts from hundreds of different suppliers and providing support for all types of transit buses.
The New Flyer group of companies employ over 3,000 team members with manufacturing, fabrication, parts distribution and service centers in both Canada and the United States. Over 32,000 New Flyer and NABI heavy-duty transit buses are in operation today. Further information is available on New Flyer's web site at www.newflyer.com.
The common shares and convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of the Company are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NFI and NFI.DB.U, respectively.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements relating to expected future events and financial and operating results of the Company that involve risks and uncertainties. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements, and the differences may be material. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations as projected in such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including market and general economic conditions and economic conditions of and funding availability for customers to purchase buses and to purchase parts or services, there may be no demand for a battery-electric bus from customers, customers may not exercise options to purchase additional buses, the ability of customers to terminate contracts for convenience and the other risks and uncertainties discussed in the materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Due to the potential impact of these factors, the Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law.
SOURCE: New Flyer Industries Inc.
For further information: Please contact: Jon Koffman, Investor Relations, Tel: 204-224-6672