When most people think of hybrid vehicles, the Prius, or other similar petrol-electric passenger vehicles come to mind. But there is another hybrid revolution under way in the stop-start world of transit buses; hybrid diesel-electrics. Around 20 percent of all transit buses are now hybrid diesel-electric models. In comparison to hybrids making up just 1.5 percent of U.S. car and light-truck sales.
DaimlerChrysler's Orion brand has the lion's share of the market with almost 60 percent of hybrid diesel-electric city bus sales into North America and offers 30-foot, 35-foot and 40-foot Orion VII models that meet all 2007 EPA standards. The installed base of hybrid buses in North America is expected to grow by over 70 percent in the next year alone.

Hybrid diesel-electric technology really makes sense for city buses considering that the average speed of transit buses in New York is just 7mph. All the stopping and starting allows the regenerative breaking to keep the batteries running for longer and the lowered emissions is a boon in modern, smoggy cities. Greenhouse gas emissions are 30 percent lower on hybrid diesel-electric Orion buses in comparison to their diesel-only variants. The recent introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is another important factor that really helps make these vehicles very city friendly.

Other advantages of hybrid diesel-electric technology are that engine noise is lowered, engine wear and tear is reduced, there is no roll-back on hills and acceleration is smoother and quicker.

[Source: Bernard Simon / MSNBC]


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