Will Make Its Debut at LCT Show in Las Vegas in February
Southern California’s Newport Coachworks will unveil an all-new battery electric bus at the LCT 2014 show in Las Vegas this February. The company is testing motors and battery cells now with a view to nailing down U.S. suppliers, says Ian Hobday, CEO at Newport’s Green Automotive Company parent.
Newport Coachworks is a unit of Riverside, Calif.-based Green Automotive Company (OTC: GACR), which also owns Britain’s Liberty Electric Cars and the UK electric vehicle retailer GoinGreen.
Standout existing orders for Newport Coachworks include nearly 500 buses, some of them compressed natural gas-fueled, via Don Brown Bus Sales. The CNG buses are mostly with Bell Transportation in Las Vegas, Hobday says.
But, “What we want to do is transfer people to completely zero transportation.” Hobday told F&F.
Liberty, he notes, has taken over responsibility for servicing battery electric trucks from the now defunct Modec, including the economical rebuilding of the vehicles’ batteries, thereby keeping the vehicles in service. “I stole their technical team,” Hobday says of Modec.
Liberty’s expertise in Europe extends to Newport in California, which will manufacture the battery packs for the new buses at a new plant in Riverside. “There is nothing I would like to see more then American cells in those battery packs,” he said Monday.
A 14- to 18-Seat Bus Is First
Two lithium battery types are in the running, he said, as well as an extremely safe new lead battery variant.
Likewise, two suppliers are in the running to provide traction motors for the new vehicles.
Newport will start with a 14- to 18-passenger all-electric shuttle bus in Las Vegas, and later introduce a 24-seat model.
LCT 2014, the International Limousine, Charter and Tour conference hosted by Bobit Business Media and the National Limousine Association (NLA), takes place February 16-18 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
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Source: Green Automotive release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up