The May 5th debut of Liberty Coach’s 2016 Cockpit Redesign raised eyebrows throughout the RV industry, and for good reason. One look is all it takes to tell you that this is a truly extraordinary achievement, both in its use of breakthrough technology and its visually stunning design.
Less obvious, perhaps, but no less remarkable is what the company calls the new cockpit’s “ergodynamic difference,” in reference to the precision ergonomic approach the company took to the project. “Ergonomics is nothing new in RV design,” says to Liberty Coach managing partner and design engineer Kurt Konigseder, whose engineering and production expertise are unsurpassed in the Prevost coach conversion field. “What is new is the extent to which we’ve taken it in an all-out effort to maximize driver comfort, minimize driver fatigue, and deliver a driving experience like no other.”
To illustrate the “ergodynamic difference,” he points to the dash-mounted iPad, which is the single most important control element in the new dashboard configuration. Virtually all coach operations are controlled by the device, so placement had to be perfect. “The iPad had to be positioned at the precise angle and distance to allow unimpeded viewing and easy operation without requiring the driver to change position,” Konigseder explains.
Similar modifications were made to the placement of other components. The Prevost heating and air conditioning control panel was recessed and angled upward to give the driver a direct view of the readout, a major improvement over the standard factory installation. To the driver’s right, the center cabinet was redesigned to allow easier entry into the driver’s seat and accommodate a drink holder, driver’s storage area and CB. On the driver’s left side, space was created for a second drink holder and a mobile phone with built-in charging capabilities, and all of the switches and controls positioned to be within easy reach of the driver’s left hand. And the lower left section of the dash was redesigned to align the transmission panel and adjacent switching with the driver’s view.
Centralizing control in the iPad also allowed Konigseder to greatly simplify the dash by reducing the number of switches and eliminating a pair of gauges. One of the most dramatic examples is the AM/FM/Sirius radio system, which is now controlled via its own iPad interface. “It allowed us to move the radio from its traditional place near the top of the dash to a much less conspicuous location at the bottom, which greatly enhanced the ergonomics of the dash,” Konigseder says.
The same can be said for the entire cockpit. “Once the iPad position was finalized, we were able to create a very ergonomically pleasing design with a much cleaner, uncluttered look that flows around the steering wheel to both sides of the dashboard,” Konigseder points out. The motif is beautifully accentuated by an exclusive new fiber optic ambient lighting system which traces the outline of the dash and provides ample accent lighting for all switches and controls.
While news of the Cockpit Redesign has been greeted enthusiastically to date, Konigseder thinks the excitement will grow even more rapidly in the weeks ahead as more and more RV enthusiasts get a first-hand look at Liberty’s 2016 coaches. The next opportunity to do so comes during Memorial Day week when Elegant Lady No. 792, the 2016 Torello Edition, rolls into the Charlotte Speedway for Liberty’s annual trackside rally at NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600. Beyond that, check the Events page on the company’s website for updates about when and where Liberty Coach’s “ergodynamic” masterpiece will be appearing next.