DesignLine Corp. Announces Change of Leadership

The board of directors of DesignLine Corp.announces the appointment of Joseph J. Smith as interim chief executive officer effective immediately.

Smith currently serves as a consultant to Cyan Partners, LP, the sole arranger of DesignLine’s November 2011 debt and equity capital raises. In his capacity as a consultant to Cyan, Smith also serves on the company’s board of directors. Prior to his retirement in December 2010, Smith held three executive leadership positions at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a component unit of the State of New York, including president, MTA Bus Company; president, MTA Long Island Bus and senior vice president, Department of Buses, MTA New York City Transit.

Siemens Announces Partnership with DesignLine

Siemens Industry Inc.’s Drive Technologies Division has finalized a supplier agreement to provide electric drive propulsion system components for Charlotte, N.C.,-based DesignLine.

Through this relationship with DesignLine, Siemens will provide permanent magnet excited motors (PEM), inverters and voltage protection modules to support the rear-axle drive systems of seven new all-electric buses being manufactured by DesignLine for the Montreal Transit Authority (STM).

In May, DesignLine announced a $5.9 million deal with STM for the purchase of all-electric “midi buses.” Capable of carrying 36 people, each midi bus will feature low floors for easy rider access, and will have a range of approximately 100 miles on a single charge. The buses, which are expected to be delivered by mid-2013, should operate in Old Montreal. The STM has strategic plans that call for more electric vehicles, thus helping to reduce and/or eliminate both noise levels and emissions.

Josh Anderson, EVP of Engineering for DesignLine commented, “DesignLine’s electric bus product line is enhanced through the rollout of our 30-foot Midibus EV line, using Siemens latest technology in motors and inverters. Incorporating the Siemen’s PEM Drive components with DesignLine’s proven and proprietary EV system and latest vehicle design is a win for all of the project partners.”

“This partnership showcases the versatility and operating experience of Siemens hybrid offerings, and demonstrates our growth within this market segment — with more than 1,500 hybrid drive systems in operation worldwide,” says Thomas Orberger, hybrid drives business manager for Siemens Drive Technologies Division.

According to Orberger, hybrid and all-electric propulsion configurations are making more sense to transit organizations, as a municipal bus maintains many of the attributes that contribute to significant fuel savings in a hybrid or all-electric platform, including frequent stop and go operation, low average speeds and power consumption, stationary activities and high operating hours.

Within the next months, Siemens will localize the manufacturing and assembly of its hybrid traction drive components at the company’s Alpharetta, Ga., plant. The facility currently employs approximately 700 employees and manufactures large traction drives used for transportation (light rail and heavy rail) and mining applications (trucks, shovels and draglines), low voltage drives for the water/wastewater, paper and metals industries in the NAFTA market.

DesignLine Hires Two Industry Veterans to Bolster Growing Sales Operations

DesignLine Corp. announced July 7 it is hiring two seasoned transit industry veterans to help meet the demand of its growing sales efforts. Joshua Goldman will become the vice president of business development and Dan Kemper will serve as the company’s director of sales.

The new hires will help the company meet the demand of the growing electric, turbine-electric (hybrid) and coach bus markets. “Joshua and Dan have tremendous experience in the transit bus industry,” said Joseph J. Smith, president of DesignLine. “We continue to see opportunities on the horizon for DesignLine, and Joshua and Dan will enable us to take advantage of them and build on our current success.”

Goldman is an engineer by training with extensive experience with hybrid, battery and fuel cell technology. “I have worked in the alternative fuel transit industry for more than a decade and I am excited about the vehicles DesignLine builds and markets,” said Goldman. “The technology in DesignLine buses is cutting edge and I believe the company has bottom-line value to offer transit systems.”

Kemper has nearly 20 years of transit experience with OEM's and suppliers in the transit industry. He is widely known by transit systems and will help to continue to raise DesignLine’s profile. “DesignLine is an exciting company that is doing something many bus manufacturers can only dream about, develop and build vehicles in the transit and coach markets. DesignLine has a full complement to offer transit systems no matter what their vehicle profile might be,” added Kemper.

All Electric DesignLine Bus Produces Unparalleled Results

DesignLine Corp., a designer and manufacturer of electric drive systems for the commercial bus market, announced yet another milestone today with its all electric bus, the Eco-Smart I, averaging up to 30 miles per gallon (diesel equivalent) in actual, daily passenger service while maintaining 100 percent up-time. These real world operating results are the true gauge of vehicle performance. The Eco-Smart I is the only all electric heavy-duty vehicle with over four years of daily, in-service operation verifying its superior performance.

Over 12 months ago DesignLine fielded a fleet of Eco-Smart I buses in one of the most demanding operating environments on the globe – the Middle East. While maintaining 100 percent up time through temperatures in excess of 125 F and the other environmental challenges of desert operation, the Eco-Smart I traveled over 150 miles on a single charge. This is the diesel equivalent of 30 miles per gallon or fuel costs of $0.13 per mile, representing over a 750 percent improvement over standard diesel buses.

“DesignLine electric buses excel in daily service overcoming the desert heat, high humidity and sand intrusion endemic to the Middle East region. No other electric vehicle has been able to provide continuous, daily service in our extreme operating conditions much less compete with DesignLine on operating performance. The reliability and performance of the DesignLine electric vehicle is in a class by itself,” said Duncan Peat, managing director of Liberty Automotive in the United Arab Emirates.

The superiority of the DesignLine electric drives is the direct result of a multi-year, over $30 million dollar research and development effort funded by an investment consortium led by Guggenheim Venture Partners. “Early on, Guggenheim Venture Partners recognized the technological superiority of the DesignLine electric drive system. We are pleased to lead a syndicate in a growth stage investment which has allowed DesignLine to refine its electric drive technology. DesignLine electric drives are now positioned as the industry leader in all objective performance measures,” said Darren C. Wallis of Guggenheim Venture Partners. Recent advancements include the integration of opportunity or boost charging to further extend operating range and permit 18 hours of continuous service.

“DesignLine is very proud of the accolades earned by the Eco-Smart I in real world operation. It continues to set the bar on overall performance against which all other electric buses are measured. Performance superiority can be found across the full line of our electric drive systems from the pure electric Eco-Smart I to the range extended electric Eco-Saver IV. With our focus on continuous improvement, DesignLine will be providing customers electric drives in the near future which yield even greater range and lower operating cost operation,” stated Brad Glosson, CEO of DesignLine Corp.

DesignLine’s environmentally friendly bus footprint already extends from the United States to Europe to the Middle East to Japan to Australia. New U.S. customers, Arlington, Va. and Denver, Colo., are adding DesignLine environmentally-friendly products to their fleet daily with other cities in the United States, Canada and the Middle East following suit later this year. Current demand for DesignLine products will require production of over 300 units next year.