July '18

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68 • RV PRO • July 2018 rv-pro.com O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T Still, it takes a lot to live up to such a reputation, including both a continuing focus on changing technology, as well as a good working relationship with its customers. Guillaume says there's a lot of communication between Spartan and the RV manufacturers. "First, they need to understand the envelope that they're building around," he says. "And, if they want to make changes to a coach, whether it's for a different floorplan or they want to make changes to storage, we work together to find a solution that meets their needs." That certainly includes changes to technology, but it goes beyond simply working with the manufacturers. As the chassis manufacturer, Spartan is responsible for making sure each design is compliant with the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin- istration requirements, as well as meets emission standards. "We work with Cummins to certify the chassis for emission requirements that tend to change from year to year," he says. "The main focus is to make things more efficient to reduce greenhouses gases." Guillaume adds that that's an advantage to the OEMs, too, because they can focus on building the coach without worrying about whether it will be a legally compliant vehicle. Certainly, the OEMs have their own demands. Guillaume explains that Spartan is constantly working with its OEM cus- tomers on new technologies, as well as helping them implement things that need to be integrated into the coach. A good example, he says, is a new dash Spartan launched for the 2019 model year. "Spartan's Digital Dash boasts a digital interface, as opposed to analog gauges," Guillaume says. "It's very similar to what you'd find in a Tesla, and it's the next evolution of display and driver interface. We worked with our OEM customers to ensure that anything that has to be monitored or displayed from a coach function is displayed on the dash." It also needed to fit the design and tooling of the coach itself, he adds. Guillaume's comparison of the dash to that found in a Tesla isn't accidental, either. The company has its own research-and-de- velopment division in Charlotte, Mich., and its location in south central Michigan allows it to keep a close watch on what's happening in the high-end automotive market. Another example he cites is several technologies Spartan integrated into what it calls its "Advanced Protection System." "We have collision mitigation, which effectively brakes the vehicle if it detects an object in front of the coach where a collision is impending." Guillaume says. "We have adap- tive cruise, so if the RV is in cruise mode, it will maintain an appropriate following distance to the vehicle in front if there's an incident or someone brakes hard or pulls in front of the unit." A still-more-recent addition, Spartan "Safe Haul", integrates Spartan worker Eric Burghdoff installs the wiring harnesses to the service center on a chassis. Spartan incorporates some high-tech features into its chassis, including its Advanced Protection System with collision mitigation technology; Adaptive Cruise, offering advanced cruise control; and Spartan Safe Haul, which integrates the braking of the coach with a tow vehicle.

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