July 30, 2008

New ‘Green’ Transit Bus is Developed

U.S. engineers say they've created a lightweight urban transit bus with double the fuel efficiency of conventional hybrid transit buses.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists, along with two Michigan companies and funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, developed the green 40-foot bus that features a high-strength stainless steel body and chassis, along with a hybrid power system that drives the bus primarily with stored electrical energy.

This approach reverses the paradigm of conventional parallel hybrid designs that use electric energy only to supplement the acceleration and torque requirements of a diesel engine, officials said. At the heart of the bus is a chassis made of Nitronic 30 -- a nitrogen-strengthened stainless steel that is stronger and stiffer than conventional steel.

Nitronic stainless steel is incredibly durable and enables our chassis designs to have significantly longer service life vs. ordinary steel vehicles, said Bruce Emmons, president of Autokinetics of Rochester, Mich., which helped developed the bus.

The vehicle also incorporates a number of advanced design features and advantages, said Gregory Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Coachworks, which licensed the technology.

Deliveries of the bus are expected to begin next year.


Image Caption: Fisher Coachworks' lightweight hybrid bus, which achieves twice the fuel economy of current hybrid buses, has some Oak Ridge National Laboratory roots.


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