Consortium orders 157 GM hybrid-powered buses

A hybrid bus consortium consisting of 11 transit agencies in California, Nevada and New Mexico has awarded a contract to Gillig Corp. for the purchase of up to 157 diesel-electric hybrid buses powered by General Motors' advanced hybrid propulsion system.

The purchase contract is the second largest since GM's hybrid diesel- electric system debuted in 2003 and was spearheaded by the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) in California. San Joaquin RTD formed the consortium with other transit agencies to boost purchasing power and reduce per-vehicle costs through mass ordering. San Joaquin RTD plans on buying 50 hybrid buses, while the remaining 107 buses will be available for other consortium members.

"Our Board of Directors' commitment to the diesel fuel path led San Joaquin RTD to purchase two GM hybrid-powered buses manufactured by Gillig in June 2004," said Bobby Kuhn, director of maintenance for San Joaquin RTD. "Since that time, we have experienced firsthand the reductions in fuel consumption, noise levels and emissions offered by this technology. These fantastic results convinced us to purchase additional buses, and to share our experience with GM's hybrid bus propulsion system with other transit agencies. The interest in acquiring the fuel-saving technology was amazing, so a purchasing consortium was formed."

Joining San Joaquin RTD in the hybrid bus consortium are the following California transit agencies: Benicia Transit, Fairfield/Suisun Transit, Golden Gate Transit, Humboldt Transit Authority, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), Monterey-Salinas Transit, SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Santa Barbara MTD. Citifare of Reno/Sparks, Nev. and ABQ RIDE in Albuquerque, N.M. also joined the consortium. Deliveries will begin in mid-2006 and conclude in late 2007.

"These hybrid buses will help San Joaquin RTD and other consortium members realize significant fuel cost savings by using diesel-electric hybrid systems," said Donna Kelsay, San Joaquin RTD's GM and CEO. "They also will help us fulfill our overall mission to significantly minimize air emissions, which in turn reduces the environmental impact to our region's land and water."

The California consortium members are purchasing hybrid diesel-electric technology in part to help meet California's stringent clean-air requirements for urban buses. The GM hybrid system provides transit agencies the option of a clean-air technology solution that has been reviewed and certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Transit buses with GM's hybrid propulsion system deliver significantly better fuel economy than traditional transit buses, cut certain emissions up to 90 percent and have operating sound levels approaching that of passenger cars. Other benefits of the GM hybrid system include reduced maintenance costs resulting from extended brake, engine oil and transmission oil life, superior torque, and better acceleration.

"GM is committed to applying hybrid technology to the highest fuel consuming vehicles on the road, including mass transit buses," said Beth Lowery, GM vice president of environment and energy. "Successful projects like this one require strong partnerships between industry and government, and we commend San Joaquin RTD's leadership and all of the consortium members for their decision to choose GM's hybrid technology and their commitment to improving fuel economy and reducing emissions in their communities."

The consortium will join the growing ranks of communities that are investing in General Motors' clean hybrid technology. Currently, there are nearly 380 GM hybrid-equipped buses operating in 29 cities in the U.S. and Canada. For 2006, GM starts the year with an additional 203 hybrid-powered buses scheduled for delivery to six U.S. cities.

"The General Motors hybrid diesel electric drive system for buses uses the most efficient parallel hybrid architecture available in the world today," said Tom Stephens, group vice president for GM Powertrain. "If the U.S. had only 1,000 GM hybrid powered buses operating in major cities, the cumulative savings would be more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel annually."

The hybrid diesel-electric drive system is manufactured by GM Allison Transmission, maker of transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems for commercial trucks, buses, off-highway equipment and military vehicles, headquartered in Indianapolis. Gillig Corp. of Hayward, Calif., will manufacture the buses.

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