100% Electric Zero-emissions Motor Coach Arrives in Fort McMurray

J4500e 2021 hIGrES2

Diversified Transportation, in partnership with Motor Coach Industries (“MCI”), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”), and Fort McMurray First Nation Group of Companies, is demonstrating a 100% battery-electric motorcoach in varying settings in the Wood Buffalo region from March 2nd through March 14th, 2021.
This is the first time a zero-emissions motorcoach – a 45-foot, battery-electric MCI J4500e CHARGE™ – will be on the road in Alberta and the first time in Canada that it will be utilized for employee site transportation.
The 56 passenger MCI J4500e CHARGE™ leverages electric vehicle technology from New Flyer, another NFI subsidiary, and is equipped with 544 kWh of heavy-duty lithium-ion batteries, delivering a range of up to 320 kilometres on a single charge.

Diversified Transportation has been providing safe and sustainable employee transportation services to oil, gas, energy, and construction companies in Northern Alberta since 1964. With facilities in both Edmonton and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Diversified carries approximately five million passengers per year via their fleet of modern highway motorcoaches, site service vehicles, and shuttles - all uniquely equipped to handle the extreme northern weather conditions.

“Diversified Transportation is excited to partner with MCI to provide our customers and passengers with the opportunity to experience the energy of a 100% electric, zero-emissions motorcoach. Compared to cars, trains, and airplanes, motorcoach travel is the most sustainable form of passenger transportation and with the introduction of a 100% battery-electric option we can further reduce our carbon footprint,” said Tim Lindsay, Vice President of Diversified Transportation.
“The MCI team, and those across the entire NFI family of brands, remains committed to sustainable mobility. Our zero-emissions J4500e motorcoach embodies this commitment by delivering clean, safe, quiet transportation powered with battery-electric technology. Together, NFI offers the widest range of EV buses and coaches in North America, and leads the industry in unmatched innovation, making motorcoaches among the safest form of any transportation,” said Brent Maitland, MCI’s Vice President of Private Sector Sales and Marketing.



  • A high-torque Siemens 3320 ft-lbs electric drive system designed to handle long-distance applications and highway speeds. Top speed of 116 km/hr with over 400 horsepower.
  • Energy-dense nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries with high-power plug-in charging from empty to full in under 4 hours.
  • A range of over 320KM at average road speeds and conditions. Regenerative braking captures kinetic energy to recharge the battery system, making for highly efficient driving in start-stop traffic conditions.
  • The J4500e is built on decades of electric drive technology developed by both MCI and New Flyer and implemented on MCI’s Reliability Driven coach structure.
  • With purpose-built batteries for heavy-duty vehicles, the J4500e is built in North America, for North America’s rugged environment.


Q: How does the operating cost of an electric coach compare to a diesel coach?
A: This largely depends on the cost of electricity, which may vary greatly by location and time of day. Electric coaches are typically 3 times more efficient than diesel coaches and they may require up to 50% less maintenance.

Q: Can I convert my existing MCI diesel coach to electric?
A: MCI has converted several existing diesel coaches into electric models, but at this point in time the process isn’t commercially or economically feasible for operators.

Q: What’s the empty weight of an electric coach vs a diesel coach?
A: Depending on battery capacity/coach model, curb weight is around 6,500 lbs heavier than a diesel coach.

Q: What type of cabin heating system does an electric coach use?
A: MCI’s electric coach models typically use 40 kW resistive electric heaters.

Q: How does battery capacity equate to range?
A: Range will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including ambient temperature (HVAC use), the number of passengers (weight), and grade (regenerative braking ability). Under “normal” operating conditions, general efficiency of 2 kWh per mile can be expected, with this increasing to 2.25 kWh per mile for routes with higher HVAC demand.

Q: How many chargers are required per coach?
A: This depends on the deployment schedule. If coaches are all charged overnight, then one charger for two coaches makes the most sense (if the available charging time is 8+ hours). If dwell time is shorter, one charger per coach may be required. If the fleet schedule is very staggered, then a custom solution can be developed to optimize the number of chargers required.

Q: What’s the impact of ambient temperature on vehicle range and battery performance?
A: All MCI coaches incorporate a Battery Thermal Management System (BTMS) which helps keep the batteries at an optimal temperature, thereby maximizing performance and life expectancy.