HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses has redesigned the cockpit of its Saf-T-Liner EF (engine forward) school bus.
Updates to the Type D unit include a redesigned engine cover that allows belts and fluid levels to be checked without removing the cover; it also creates easier access to the vehicle’s engine and more room for passenger entry.
Moreover, optimized driver's seat placement and the size of the dash create additional knee room to enhance driver comfort.
The bus’ left side dash, which was previously made of metal, is now made of integrated plastic, with interchangeable plates to accommodate various switch requirements. Switches are grouped by function. The air conditioning, defroster, and driver's air and heater switches have been consolidated to the left of the driver. Passenger loading functions have been grouped to the right.
Finally, the unit’s radio has been moved to the dash.
"We talked to customers, service technicians and our own production group, who brought a uniquely practical perspective to design considerations," said Thomas Built Senior Design Engineer David Blood.
Along with the cockpit updates, Thomas Built improved electrical system functionality in its 2010 Saf-T-Liner EF and HDX models to enhance their overall reliability, diagnostic capability and packaging. Wire and harness packages have been streamlined and strategically routed, and a customer accessory module — with a battery and ignition output — provides a location to simplify adding aftermarket electrical system components.