The 2004 decision by the city of Elk Grove to purchase refurbished buses with gasoline/electric hybrid drivetrains from ISE and Complete Coach Works sure hasn't panned out as well as had been hoped. With the noble intention of being the first U.S. city with an all-hybrid bus fleet, Elk Grove officials purchased 21 of the buses for around $10 million. According to a spokesperson for the city's contract maintenance company, MV Transportation of Fairfield, "Those buses immediately began having problems." After experiencing leaking in the rain, loss of air conditioning, and some buses that completely stopped working, the fire that happened in September of 2007 was the last straw. It was then that the buses (pictured above) were pulled from service and parked behind a grassy knoll.

Although hotly contested by the manufacturers, the city claims there were actually four fires and 25-30 "thermal incidents." Vice President Justin Spragg of ISE Corp contends that there were only three fires and that they were not all related to the ultra-capacitor used in the hybrid design. According to the article in the Sacramento Bee, he also stated that there were far fewer than the 25 "thermal incidents" claimed by the city. President Macy Neshati of Complete Coach Works is quoted as saying, "I think we're aware of a couple of instances that would be properly described as a thermal incident but 'fire' is like flames and evacuation and buses burning to the ground. We certainly haven't had that." The manufacturers place the blame at the feet of the maintenance company while the city appears to have plans to try to recoup their initial $10 million investment from all parties through legal action. For all the details on this refurbished hybrid bus hullabaloo click "read".

[Source: Sacbee]

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