INNOVATION VS COMPROMISE
The Frontrunner’s all out assault on low floor design in the 25 foot cutaway class represents the most innovative approach to low floor design available. While the Promaster Cutaway has been available since 2016, other manufacturers either “Would Not” or “Could Not” take advantage of its unique front wheel drive functionality.
For those manufacturers satisfied with decades old designs characterized by a lack of durability, poor ride quality, premature corrosion, and very low fuel efficiency of a typical cutaway, the incentive to fix something not perceived to be broken was just not there. These characterize the “Would Not” class of manufacturers. Others simply “Could Not” think far enough outside of the box to tackle the challenge of building on a chassis with a 9,350 GVWR and adhere to the additional safety requirements associated with sub 10,000 GVWR vehicles. While this presented a significant challenge to NEW’s vision for the Frontrunner, it drove its innovative thinking and approach in its design and engineering. The result, a proven lightweight, strong, and durable disrupter to the status quo in achieving a 15 passenger true low floor mini-bus at a GVWR of 9,350 lbs.
While wheelchair lifts have played an important role in overall accessibility since their introduction, they suffer from a lack of innovation, excessive space requirements, reliability, and the lack of dignity for those that need to be hoisted as much as three to four feet from the ground. This is particularly unnerving for those not confined to a wheelchair but lacking the dexterity to scale a set of steps. These passengers that typically utilize a walker are forced to bear the indignity of standing on a wheelchair lift staring down to the ground below.
A heavy tubular steel roof cage is typically constructed to the frame rails and skinned with either aluminum or some form of FRP. The bouncy rattle prone ride of a typical cutaway has been the industry standard for decades and many of these designs have not substantially changed in decades as well.
Rust and premature corrosion are often associated with these designs despite the industry standard of “undercoating” which has proven ineffective against protecting against corrosion of the steel chassis and structure as well as preventing the wood sub-floor from rotting also typically found in these dated designs.
The Frontrunner’s composite body structure represents a fundamental shift from tubular steel construction forming the essence of the Frontrunner’s lightweight, fuel efficient, yet durable structure. Proven in the field with hundreds of Frontrunners already in service, the Frontrunner truly represents the next generation in low floor bus technology, design, and manufacturing.