The Emeryville (California) Transportation Management Association (TMA) recently launched three new hybrid buses into service after IC Bus delivered them in March.
The new buses put Emeryville TMA at the forefront of the clean and green movement by providing its customers many advantages through the innovative technology used in these vehicles. Most importantly, the IC Bus HC Series Hybrid delivers the following environmental benefits:
- Up to 85 percent reduction in particulate matter
- Up to 35 percent reduction in NOx emissions
- Up to 32 percent improvement in fuel economy
- Up to 24 percent reduction in CO2
- Hybrid drive power provides an electric boost for hills or when rapid acceleration is needed. It also allows the bus to coast in pure hybrid mode while the engine idles to increase fuel economy. Idle time is also reduced.
- Electronic regeneration recharges the battery and improves brake life.
When TMA officials first learned that IC Bus was launching a hybrid bus in 2006, they decided to test drive one of the early models.
"We liked that it was clean, green new technology. The bus we test drove was quiet, powerful and fuel-efficient. Both drivers and customers liked it," remembers Wendy Silvani, director of the TMA. When the first commercial bus went into production in early 2008, the TMA was one of the first in line to order one.
Even though the TMA's fleet of 12 is relatively new, the organization plans to replace or retrofit all of its buses within the next two years.
"We've already replaced our oldest (2002 model year) buses with the hybrids," Silvani noted, "and have retrofitted three vehicles." TMA is impressed so far with the hybrids' overall performance of the hybrid buses.
"We've seen more than a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy, along with substantial reductions in idle hours. We're anticipating additional maintenance savings with better brake wear because of the regenerative system, as well. Between the fuel and maintenance savings, we expect to see an ROI on the cost of the hybrid system in just a couple of years," Silvani added. "The buses are about as close to 'zero emissions' as we can get."
The hybrid system, developed by Eaton Corporation, couples a diesel engine with a 44-kilowatt powertrain, incorporating a motor/generator, transmission and Li-ION batteries. The system recovers kinetic energy during regenerative braking, charging the batteries while the bus is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, making the hybrid buses ideal for the shuttle routes because of the frequent starting and stopping along routes.