Thomas Built Buses Redesigns Front-Engine, Transit-Style Model

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The school bus manufacturer is set to display at the NAPT Summit in Cincinnati the new 90-passenger EFX, which resulted from focus groups held at its High Point, N.C., plant over the past year.

Thomas completed the redesign during the summer after meeting with customers, dealers and even customers of competitor vehicles, and the result is a “sleek” new body, said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas. But the Type D vehicle, formerly known as the EF, was renamed to not only reflect an updated exterior but also extra features such as additional storage space for drivers, new data readers installed on the dash and increased access to the forward-located engine and to electrical components.

The EFX is also built on a Thomas chassis and is powered by the same Cummins ISB diesel engine utilizing selective catalyst reduction as was previous models.

Jed Routh, product manager at Thomas, said hundreds of part numbers were also consolidated between the new EFX and its rear-engine sibling, the Saf-T-Liner HDX, to ease the manufacturing process and to improve overall quality. Platt added that the EFX and HDX are essentially the same bus from the base of the windshield up.

Routh said feedback from two focus groups held at company headquarters indicated that customers did not want changes made to the visibility afforded by the windshield, the solid body, driver switches or overall reliability.

The new EFX will be shown during the 37th Annual NAPT Trade Show, held Oct. 25 and 26 at the Duke Energy Center.

Read more on the Thomas EFX in the October edition of School Transportation News.