A Canadian bus manufacturer and a U.S. chassis builder are joining forces on a new large school bus that will be available in both countries.
Under a supply agreement, Spartan Chassis Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., will provide conventional front-engine diesel chassis for use on Type C school buses by Lion Bus Inc.
"Together with Lion Bus, we have developed an exceptional product which offers considerably improved durability and a lower total cost of ownership, particularly lower maintenance costs," Spartan Motors Vice President Dave Snitgen said.
Saint-Jerome, Quebec-based Lion Bus, a new company, was founded by President Marc Bedard and Chief Operating Officer Camile Chartrand.
Chartrand served as president and CEO of Type A school bus maker Michel Corbeil Enterprises, which closed its manufacturing plant in 2007 and sold select assets to Collins Industries.
Bedard served as a senior advisor on the board of Michel Corbeil Enterprises and has other entrepreneurial and manufacturing industry experience.
"Due to increasing safety regulations and the many financial challenges facing school districts and private contractors, we had to come up with an innovative product development strategy," Bedard said. "We placed a premium on durability and lower maintenance costs. ... We have produced innovative solutions to very specific problem areas by utilizing materials and designs which stand up to the unique duty cycles found in the school bus market."
The chassis will be manufactured at the Spartan Chassis facility in Charlotte, Mich., then shipped to the Lion Bus plant near Montreal for body installation and completion. The buses will be sold directly to dealers, school districts and school bus contractors in the U.S. and Canada.
Here are some of the key features of the bus, according to Lion:
• Product life cycle (bus body) of 15 years
• 96-inch body width enables 18-inch aisle width using seat widths of 39 inches
• Three-point safety belts can be installed without any capacity loss using seat widths of 42 inches
• Bus body is made of fiberglass composite material finished with gelcoat, a high-quality coating with anti-corrosion properties
• Bus roof is constructed of one piece (no joints) and is leak-free
• Seven-year body warranty
Here are some of the key features of the chassis, according to Spartan:
• 65/66 and 71/72 passenger capacity configurations
• 2010 EPA-certified Cummins ISB 6.7L diesel engine with horsepower offerings of 200, 220 and 250
• Up to 31,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating
• 254-inch or 276-inch wheelbase
• Five-year chassis warranty
• Authorized service network throughout the U.S. and Canada