A new Guinness World Record is being set in Vancouver today, Aug. 30.
Traxx Coachlines drove a new MCI J4500 Charge from Kamloops to Vancouver, testing the new zero-emission motor coach's range and abilities. By doing the long route with plenty of climbing in the mountains, the trip proves the capabilities of the luxury tour bus, says Traxx CEO and president Matthew Cox.
"Transportation is going through a once in a century fundamental shift," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "As operators, we have to explore this infrastructure piece."
While they'll put their trip in for a Guinness World Record (which they expect to set, since no one has attempted distance or climb records in zero-emission luxury coaches yet), the trip is more to prove the concept, that trips between Vancouver and the interior are not just theoretical. It's a proof of concept.
"That highway is an economic corridor into the interior," notes Cox.
The trip today pushed the range. The 52-seat luxury electric motor coach's published range is 260 to 375 km, today's trip hit 356 km, with plenty of climbing on the Coquihalla. Cox says the point was to push the limit.
"What we're actually hoping to simulate is intercity between mountains and the coast," he says.
Electric options are more common for commuter transit, where it's all within one municipality. Zero-emission intercity travel is just coming around now and Traxx is looking at how to stay at the forefront. The charter bus company does run a scheduled route from Vancouver to Seattle (when the border is open) but mostly works in the private charter arena. Cox says in any case, they want to be at the forefront, hence the long-distance test.
"We as a company have been using the pandemic to rethink how we're doing business, from a social, economic and environmental perspective," he says.
The bus they took from Kamloops to Vancouver Monday runs about $1.2 million, a big investment after a bad couple of years for the private bus business. Traxx is also looking at fuel-cell technology.
"It's in its infancy, but it's a shift Traxx is going to be a part of," he says.
He notes it's a shift the customers have to be a part of as well, from trusting the technology (another reason to do the trip) to associated costs.
Data from the trip, which wrapped up in Ladner this afternoon, will be sent to the Guinness World Record team for verification.