electric-diesel hybrid buses

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    • #707080

      These are becoming very popular in america, that much maligned nation of fuel guzzlers. We should start an awareness campaign to get them here for Dublin Bus. It would be a massive boost to reduced noise and clean air in the city centre.

      Tuesday, October 21, 2003

      Diesel-electric buses hit streets next year
      Hybrids will save money in long run, transit officials say


      Less thick, black exhaust will spew from a new fleet of more than 200 diesel-electric hybrid buses the region’s two biggest mass-transit agencies plan to roll out next year.

      When the 60-foot articulated buses lurch into motion, they don’t chug through fuel. At low speeds, they run on a hybrid electric drive, which King County Metro Transit expects will save 750,000 gallons of fuel and at least a half-million dollars a year.

      “The reason you save so much fuel is that the bulk of what a bus does is starting and stopping,” said Matthew Kester, a spokesman for General Motors Corp., which manufactures the hybrid electric drive at a transmission plant in Indianapolis.

      As the bus speeds up, it uses a mix of electricity and diesel fuel. The diesel engine, made by Caterpillar Inc., takes over once the bus reaches 20 or 25 mph, Kester said yesterday.

      “Because you’re not dumping all the fuel through this diesel engine to get this bus moving, you’re getting a 90 percent improvement on emissions (of soot, hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide),” Kester said. “Plus you’ve improved fuel economy by about 50 to 60 percent.”

      New Flyer, a Canadian bus manufacturer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, makes the buses.

      King County signed orders for 213 buses Friday, and Sound Transit, which runs regional express buses in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, bought 22 — a combined investment of more than $150 million.

      “Obviously, it’s a technology we’re excited about because of the cleaner air, the fuel savings and the maintenance savings,” Sound Transit spokesman Lee Somerstein said.

      The first new hybrids are expected to hit the streets by next spring.

      Today in Seattle, General Motors Corp. plans to show off the 60-foot model that King County Metro Transit tested out before its recent purchase.

      Hybrid buses cost more up front — about $645,000 apiece, compared with $445,000 for a standard diesel-powered bus, Metro Transit spokeswoman Linda Thielke said.

      But because they use less fuel, hybrid buses don’t need their oil changed as often and are easier to maintain, General Motors estimates that the county will recoup its costs within about seven years.

      Metro Transit bought its test model last year and put more than 40,000 miles on it before deciding to buy the new fleet.

      “It performed remarkably well,” Thielke said, noting it had plenty of power motoring up hills, ran quietly and required very little maintenance.

      Sound Transit bought a 40-foot test model. “Our operations people just love it,” Somerstein said. “They’ve had virtually no problems.”

      The hybrids will replace an aging fleet of dual-mode buses that run on overhead electric wires while they pass through the downtown bus tunnel, then switch to diesel outside the tunnel.

      Because the new buses will have their own electricity supply, they’ll no longer rely on those overhead wires while inside the tunnel, making them easier to maneuver.

    • #742759

      Ah now there’s a can of worms . . .

      The thing that the article doesn’t mention about the General Motors buses is how much *more* fuel they guzzle when running on diesel than the engines we use on this side of the pond – more than enough of a difference to outweigh the savings IMHO.

      CIE went for GM engines bigtime in the 80s – the standard Detroit Diesel engine which is still the staple of US citybuses powered the fleet of 366 Bombardier double-deckers which entered service between 1981 and 1983.

      These buses gave the accountants a nasty shock – fuel comsumption was only 3mpg, as opposed to the buses they were replacing, which did either 12mpg (the last of the old “halfcab open-platform” Leylands) or 9mpg (the later, doored Leyland Atlanteans).

      The big advantage of these buses was that unlike the leyland Atlanteans they rarely broke down on the road, however they were hugely expensive to maintain, and went through engines at a rate of knots. And as for the body problems . . . suffice to say that “Bombardier” while having an excellent reputation in the rail and aerospace industry, is a very dirty word in Dublin Bus circles.

      The company had considered putting GM engines in everything, but after these buses opted for the much more fuel-efficient Cummins engine instead. (about 7 or 8mpg).

      These days Dublin Bus get similar fuel consumption for their new Volvo buses, but unlike the vehicles in the US, these comply with very exacting “Euro III” emissions standards.

      Diesel-electric hybrids will surely come to Europe, but you won’t get any operator in Ireland or the UK going for GM engines in a hurry!

      Another option making progress is the “fuel-cell bus” – which has an onboard electric powerplant with zero emissions – the only thing that comes out of it is steam. And they say you could drink the water from the steam when it condenses!

      See http://www.londonbuspage.com/040119.htm for examples in London.


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