New Flyer Industries Xcelsior

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New Flyer Xcelsior
Better by design.
Years of manufacture 2008 to present
Length 35 to 60 feet
Width 102 inches
Propulsion Battery-electric, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), hydrogen fuel cell, diesel, diesel-electric hybrid, electric trolley

The New Flyer Industries Xcelsior is a line of transit buses available in Canada and the United States. New Flyer's major selling point for the Xcelsior is a reduction in weight and increase in fuel economy over their previous models. A lighter frame, polymer fuel tank, and composite floor structure are some of the contributing features.

The Xcelsior also has a wider front door along with narrower pier panels and A-pillars to improve visibility. The roof of the bus is gently raised at the rear section to offer increased headroom. Also introduced on the Xcelsior were larger glass roof hatches.


Development and launch

A diesel-powered prototype was built with the front fascia and roofline of the D40LFR. The fuel tank placement, window spacing, front door, and rear cap of the D40LFR all reflect the design used for the Xcelsior. The new model used the same HVAC as its predecessor, but its design incorporates a new roofline in order to conceal it.

The Xcelsior was launched on October 6, 2008 at the APTA Expo in San Diego. The bus on display was a diesel-electric hybrid model. The Xcelsior made its Canadian debut at the 2008 CUTA Trans-Expo the following month in Windsor.

Rollout of options

The Xcelsior was launched as a 40-foot diesel or diesel-electric hybrid model. The first order for 35-foot diesel and diesel-electric hybrid models was placed by Connecticut Transit at the end of 2009. Options for gasoline-electric hybrid-powered and compressed natural gas-powered versions of the Xcelsior along with the options of 35 and 60-foot lengths were made available in 2010. New Flyer was awarded a contract for an order of 14 CNG-powered, 60-foot long Xcelsiors from Omnitrans in May 2010.[1] New Flyer also entertained a bid from Fresno Area Express for 30, 40, and 60-foot, CNG-powered transit buses. While not ready to make a quote for the 30 foot model, New Flyer gave a price for the 60 foot model which came in lower than NABI's offer.[2]. The CNG-powered articulated Xcelsior made its debut at the 2011 APTA Expo. The demonstrator also showed off an option for doors on both sides of the bus.

The Xcelsior is available with or without a rear window. CNG-powered models do not feature a rear window, instead they have a louvred panel with the destination sign centred at the bottom. An option which was introduced on Connecticut Transit's XDE40 order was the use of traditional passenger windows instead of the flush-mounted type used on the demonstrators. Brampton Transit followed suit with their XD40 order for conventional service.

In December 2010, the province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Red River College, New Flyer, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries partnered to develop a fully electric transit bus. The project would cost $3 million with the provincial government investing $1 million.[3][4] By January 2012, it was revealed in an interview with radio station CJOB that a prototype vehicle, based on the Xcelsior line, would begin testing in the spring. The prototype made its public debut at the Manitoba Legislative Building on June 1. It used lithium ion batteries from Mitsubishi which can be recharged enroute using a station provided by Eaton.[5]

The Xcelsior was introduced with a carbon steel frame. A stainless steel option was introdced in 2012 to be compliant with the STM and other ATUQ members' specifications.[6] Despite New Flyer's efforts, the ATUQ contract was awarded to Nova Bus.

New Flyer successfully bid on a contract for King County Metro's next generation of trolleybuses (both 40-foot and 60-foot). The San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) teamed up with King County Metro to jointly purchase the buses on the same contract, a move that lowered pricing. The first two pilot (prototype) buses were delivered to Seattle in October 2014. A group of five production buses entered revenue service on August 19, 2015.

Following a competitive grant from the California Energy Commission for the development of an advanced fuel cell transit bus, New Flyer introduced a 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell powered Xcelsior model.[7] A 60-foot articulated fuel cell model was developed with a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administered by CALSTART. It was introduced in April 2016.

New Flyer introduced their next-generation of battery-electric transit bus at the 2017 American Public Transportation Association Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. Dubbed the Xcelsior CHARGE, the bus has an extended range of 457 kilometres with new battery technology. Working to new industry standards, new charging infrastructure that allows for completely interoperability is now offered.[8]

All-LED reflector style headlights were introduced as an option in 2017, with SEPTA taking some of the earliest examples. These were made standard in mid-2018. Orders placed prior to the standardization, like CMBC 18101–18206, were completed through 2018 with the original projector-style LED/halogen hybrid headlight units. Replacement headlight units for all Xcelsior units are now exclusively of the all-LED reflector type as production of the hybrid headlights ceased after these final orders were completed.

In 2019, New Flyer announced the launch of their Automated Technology Program. They partnered with Robotic Research for the development and deployment of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in heavy-duty transit bus applications. In January 2021, New Flyer unveiled their Xcelsior AV, an SAE J3016 Level 4 autonomous transit bus. A Level 4 is defined as high automation where the vehicle performs all driving tasks autonomously while actively monitoring the driving environment. The Xcelsior AV uses sensors, such as LIDARs, radars, and cameras, to visualize the environment. It can detect pedestrians and other vehicles as well as communicate directly with other vehicles and infrastructure.[9][10]



  1. New Flyer Awarded Contract To Provide sbX Coaches,, retrieved on 2010-09-21
  2. Bid results,, retrieved on 2010-09-21
  3. Owen, Bruce Province says electric vehicle projects in the works. 9 April 2011. Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg). Retrieved on 2011-01-10
  4. Manitoba puts up cash for all-electric bus. 26 April 2011. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Toronto). Retrieved on 2011-01-10
  5. Selinger calls electric transit bus the future of public transport (01 June 2012). Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg). Retrieved on 01 June 2012.
  6. New Flyer and Girardin proudly present the new innovative alternative for public transit: The state-of-the-art Xcelsior buses (Press release). Canada Newswire. 12 April 2012. Retrieved on 13 April 2012.
  7. California Energy Commission Awards New Flyer $1.7 Million In Support Of Developing a Zero-Emission Fuel Cell Transit Bus
  8. New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE brochure. New Flyer Industries, October 2017.
  9. "New Flyer launches Automated Technology Program for buses; drives safe advancement of public transit technology forward in North America." Press release. New Flyer Industries, 06 May 2019.
  10. "New Flyer unveils the Xcelsior AV™ - North America's first automated transit bus." Press release. New Flyer Industries, 29 January 2021.

External links

New Flyer Industries
Current Models

Battery-Electric: 35ft: XE35 - 40ft: XE40 - 60ft: XE60
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): 35ft: XN35 - 40ft: XN40 - 60ft: XN60
Diesel: 35ft: XD35 - 40ft: XD40 - 60ft: XD60
Diesel-Electric Hybrid: 35ft: XDE35 - 40ft: XDE40 - 60ft: XDE60
Electric Trolleybus: 40ft: XT40 - 60ft: XT60
Hydrogen Fuel Cell: 40ft: XHE40 - 60ft: XHE60

Past Models

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): 30ft: C30LF - C30LFR - 35ft: C35LF - C35LFR - 40ft: C40 - C40LF - C40LFR
Diesel: 30ft: D30LF - MD30 - 35ft: D35 - D35LF - D35LFR - MD35 - 40ft: D40 - D40LF - D40LFA - D40LFR - D40S - D40i - 45ft: D45S - 60ft: D60 - D60LF - D60LFA - D60LFR
Diesel-Electric Hybrid: 30ft: DE30LFR - 35ft: DE35LF - DE35LFA - DE35LFR - 40ft: DE40LF - DE40LFA - DE40LFR - DE40i - 60ft: DE60LF - DE60LFA - DE60LFR
Electric Trolleybus: 40ft: E40LF - E40LFR - 60ft: E60 - E60LFR
Gasoline-Electric Hybrid: 35ft: GE35LFR - 40ft: GE40LF - GE40LFA - GE40LFR
Hydrogen-Electric Hybrid: 40ft: HE40LF
Hydrogen Fuel Cell: 40ft: F40LF/H40LF - H40LFR
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG): 30ft: L30LF - 35ft: L35LF - 40ft: L40 - L40LF - L40LFR

Platform Invero - Low Floor - MiDi - Xcelsior