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Emerald Luxury Coaches, the Texas-based luxury motorcoach convertor that since 2015 has been building a unique industry niche around its highly distinctive Prevost X3-45 coaches, has added Prevost H3-45 conversions to the mix for the 2020 model year.
It’s a move that vaults Emerald to the forefront of the Prevost conversion field. The H3-45 is Prevost’s “touring bus” platform, one that with its higher profile, panoramic windows and larger storage capacity has long been the standard for the industry’s elite coaches. That, combined with Emerald’s reputation for offering high-quality Prevost conversions at exceptionally competitive prices, is raising eyebrows throughout the industry.
As well it should. A quick look at Emerald’s initial offering of completed H3-45 models reveals a product that more than holds its own in the extremely competitive Prevost marketplace. “We surveyed customers about what they want in a coach, and we listened,” says John Walker, Emerald’s owner and president. “We started by redesigning all of our bays, to increase storage, reduce maintenance costs, and just make them easier to work with. On the inside, we worked to open things up and use every inch of the floorplan, to give the design a chance to shine.”
The H3-45 series also reflects Emerald’s commitment to incorporating cutting edge technology and premium quality components. Of particular note is the 58-volt house electrical system featuring Volta Power System’s automotive-grade lithium ion batteries, the most advanced energy system available and one that cuts hundreds of pounds of total weight from the coach. Other noteworthy features include oversized HD LED TVs throughout – 49-inch displays in the living room and bedroom and an enormous 65-inch unit in the lower bay Entertainment Center – as well as a Creston-based control system that may be the simplest, easiest to operate ever designed.
“Simplified operations have always been a priority for us, and a characteristic of the Emerald brand,” Walker says. “We program the Crestron ourselves with our own interface, and combine everything into one central control panel. You can also run it through your phone, tablet, or smart TV. Again, the idea is to keep it simple.”
But the most amazing thing remains the price. With the introduction of their new H3-45 series coaches, Emerald has once again managed to keep the asking price well below the average Prevost conversion, and competitive with many high-end Class A motorhomes.
“In terms of value, the Emerald H3-45 is like no other vehicle in its price range,” says Frank Konigseder Jr. of Liberty Coach, which provides sales, service and marketing support for Emerald. “The quality of the workmanship is obvious. The same goes for the technology and design work. And there’s no comparing any Class A chassis to a Prevost.”
Walker agrees, pointing out that Emerald will continue to build coaches on both Prevost platforms. “H3-45 or X3-45, you’re talking about a million-mile coach. And we want to give everyone in the market the chance to experience it.”
Emerald’s new H3-45 coaches are offered exclusively through Liberty Coach of Florida in Stuart, Florida (LibertyCoach.com) and TransWest RV in Frederick, Colorado (Transwest.com). Contact them directly for information on current inventory and to arrange a test drive.
While the H3-45 chassis has garnered the most attention, it’s not only newsworthy aspect of Emerald’s 2020 model year coaches.
They’re also the first to feature an all-new energy system powered by automotive grade lithium ion batteries from Volta Power Systems.
The system, which utilizes the same battery technology as electric and hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius and Tesla, offers enormous advantages over the AGM, or lead acid, batteries used in most Prevost conversion coaches. These include:
Weight – The Volta battery pack weighs just 1/6th as much as the number of lead acid batteries it would take to produce a comparable amount of energy.
Battery life – Lithium ion batteries are designed to deliver over 2,000 charging cycles and still have 80% capacity remaining, compared to the 50 to 250 cycles AGM cells can handle before they require replacement.
Charge rate – Lithium ion batteries charge up to 7 times faster than lead acid.
Power consistency – Unlike lead acid batteries, whose power fades as voltage drops, lithium ion puts out consistent power over its full range.
In addition, we found the Volta battery pack to be easier to install than the AGM cells used in our earlier coaches. And the system is easily expandable, too – if a customer wants to add power capacity, we can simply add more battery packs.
Emerald is only the second major Prevost convertor to make the move to lithium ion, and with so many obvious benefits, it’s hard to figure out why more haven’t followed suit.
“We’re proud to take this step and push ahead with this truly exciting system,” Emerald president and CEO John Walker says. “It puts Emerald solidly at the technological forefront of the industry, and with the support of such innovative dealers as Liberty Coach and TransWest, we’re in great position to stay there.”
In the Prevost conversion field, few people’s words carry as much weight as those of Liberty Coach’s Frank Konigseder, Jr. As co-owner and managing partner of the oldest and most respected convertor in the business, he knows he’s talking about. And we love what he has to say about Emerald – our coaches, our service, and our commitment to customer support. Take a couple minutes to check out this interview clip from the 2018 Prevost Motorhome Expo.
Russ Saputo has been in the service business all his life, running everything from beer distributorships to fast food restaurants to motorcycle dealerships. So when he told us Emerald’s brand of service ranks a cut above any he’s encountered, it was something we had to share.
He and wife Leeann bought their coach, a 2016 X3-45, from Liberty Coach of Florida where they had gone to shop for a replacement for their first Prevost, a 2001 Liberty. He liked what he’d seen of the Emerald on Liberty’s website, and upon checking it out in person was impressed enough to buy on the spot.
On the trip back north to Michigan, the bus broke down near Chicago – at 2:00am. Enter the Emerald service team.
“I called Gus (Garrison, Emerald service manager), and he was there to answer the phone,” Russ told us. “If he wasn’t, I had John Walker’s phone number, too. Anyway, Gus told me what to do to get back on the road. Two days later, he’s on an airplane flying to Michigan to put in a new alternator. It wasn’t even their fault – it was a Prevost problem – but no matter. He had the alternator shipped to us and flew up to put it in himself.”
That kind of service commitment was a game changer for Russ. “As anyone who’s owned any vehicle with a motor knows, service issues will come up,” he said. “What’s most important is how the manufacturer handles them. And time and time again, Emerald responds with a brand of service that’s far superior to any I’ve experienced.”
It’s especially important considering how heavily Russ and Leeann rely on their coach, for both business and pleasure. The couple owns Harley Davidson dealerships in Colorado and Indiana and routinely use the Emerald to travel between the two. It’s also the vehicle of choice for their 11 grandchildren on vacations from the Colorado Rockies to the Northwoods of Michigan. That’s a demanding schedule by any measure, with no room for downtime.
“My Dad once told me that when it comes to buying cars, a salesman will sell you the first one, but service will sell you the rest,” Russ said. Needless to say, he feels the same way about coaches – and Emerald in particular.