High Point, N.C. - With an eye to the driver's experience, Thomas Built Buses has redesigned its Type D engine forward (EF) cockpit. The result is an updated look and improved function, with an array of updates to be incorporated in Saf-T-Liner® EF models available spring 2010.
"We talked to customers, service technicians and our own production group, who brought a uniquely practical perspective to design considerations," said Thomas Built senior design engineer David Blood.
Among the updates are:
A redesigned engine cover allows belts and fluid levels to be checked without removing the engine cover and creates a roomier passenger entry. Engine access is easier, with no tools needed.
Optimized driver's seat placement and dash size creates more knee room and enhances driver comfort.
The left side dash, previously metal, now is made of integrated plastic, with interchangeable plates to accommodate various switch requirements.
Switches and options are grouped by function. Air conditioning, defroster, and driver's air and heater switches have been consolidated to the left of the driver. Passenger loading functions have been grouped to the right
The radio has been moved from overhead to the dash.
Along with cockpit updates, Thomas Built improved electrical system functionality in the 2010 Saf-T-Liner EF and HDX models to enhance the overall reliability, diagnostic capability and packaging. At first glance, customers will see the streamlined and strategic routing of updated wire and harness packages. A customer accessory module, with a battery and ignition output, provides a dedicated location to simplify adding aftermarket electrical system components.
"Thomas Built's Type Ds already were smart and innovative but, in our mission of continuous improvement, we wanted to give everyone a little something extra," said Blood. "We think customers will be pleased with our response to their suggestions."
Thomas Built Buses (www.thomasbus.com) is a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.
Thomas Built Buses, Inc. is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 4-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.