Sunset Vans, an industry leader specializing in the manufacturing and sale of wheelchair accessible vans, is poised to share a utopian vision for the future of paratransit services at the annual American Public Transportation Association (APTA) TRANSform Conference and APTA EXPO 2021, which will take place from November 7 – 10 in Orlando, Florida.
Sunset Vans will showcase fully electric powertrain conversions on its line of RAM ProMaster vehicles, which are built to provide clean-energy alternatives for paratransit services and help meet the California mandate for zero-emission vehicles by 2035. In partnership with LILEE Systems and Access Services, Sunset Vans will also showcase cutting-edge autonomous paratransit vehicle technologies that promise to fundamentally shift the industry paradigm.
Derek Murray, CEO of Sunset Vans, stated: “One of our top priorities at Sunset Vans as a specialty vehicle manufacturer is to lead the mobility transportation segment with zero emission electric vehicles over the next several years.”
The all-electric powertrain, currently available for the Ram ProMaster 136 and 159 WB models, converts the vehicles into one of the only electric Class 2 van options available on the market. While electric powertrains are not new to the market, the ability to completely retrofit both new and pre-owned vehicles, all while maintaining the integrity of the vehicle, certainly is, and Sunset Vans is proud to offer this option to as many of its customers as possible.
Though electric vehicles once lagged behind their gas counterparts in terms of performance, things are changing very quickly. On a single charge, the all-electric Sunset Vans RAM ProMaster is expected to produce a generous driving range of 160 to 200 miles, depending on driving behaviors. The 400V low-profile battery requires approximately 7 hours to charge with a standard charger and, with optional DC connectors, is capable of fast charging in as little as 30 minutes.
Advanced cooling technology will keep the motor and battery running at optimum operating temperatures to maximize range and energy delivery. The electric ProMaster’s range will further be boosted with regenerative braking technology that can be adjusted on the fly. The conversion, as with all Sunset Vans conversions, will be California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant and rigorously crash tested by the Sunset Vans engineering team.
“Our engineers have put countless hours into research and development into our electric powertrain conversions to address all the potential pain points a customer may have in transitioning to a clean-energy alternative. We want our customers to think ‘Why didn’t we convert sooner?’ ” says Murray.
As a leader in manufacturing and retrofitting wheelchair vans and electric mini-buses, Sunset Vans strives to work with prominent leaders from other industries to bring customers the latest advancements in accessibility solutions. One such partner is LILEE Systems: a software company based in Silicon Valley that specializes in advanced transportation safety technology and is the leading developer of software for autonomous vehicles.
Following its successful full-size self-driving bus pilot projects in Taiwan, LILEE Systems launched a paratransit autonomous vehicle pilot program in the U.S. in partnership with Sunset Vans and Access Services, the second largest paratransit services public agency.
The program, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, aims to form an autonomous vehicle fleet with smart assistive technologies, purposefully built to benefit paratransit travelers and demonstrate a ready-to-deploy solution for transit agencies seeking new opportunities in the paratransit industry.