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About a year ago, Maxwell Technologies told the world about the Chinese government using its ultracapacitors in various official vehicles. Another July brings another announcement, and so we learn that the city of Milan, Italy will soon be using Maxwell's ultracap modules in its hybrid and electric buses. The 125-volt BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor modules will store energy from the bus' brakes and then spit it back out for torque assist when the driver steps on the accelerator. Overhead electric line

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South Korean car manufacturer, Hyundai, has announced they are entering the hybrid bus business. We already knew they are going whole-hog into hybrid cars but buses are a beast of a different stripe. This is something they seem to have realized and so are approaching this market niche from a slightly different angle by beginning with a more affordable mild hybrid architecture.

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There seems to be tons of innovative technologies being proposed, tried and tested these days. Some of the wilder ideas disappear quickly while others, which were thought to have gone extinct, make a dramatic comeback. One such cool tech is the automotive turbine.

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During his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner announced that the 1,000th transit bus equipped the the GM-Allison Two-Mode system would delivered this month and it was coming to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is doubling their hybrid fleet from thirty to sixty buses. The hybrid bus powertrain was introduced in 2003 and in 2007 over 400 of them were produced. So far the Seattle King County Metro Transit Authority has made the biggest commitment to the system, ordering 500 of

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Interest in Daimler AG's diesel-electric hybrid buses is strong, the company announced this week. Over one thousand (1,052 to be exact) orders for the Orion VII hybrid buses have been placed, and Daimler says it will have these orders filled by 2010. Since the Orion hybrid bus was launched in 2003, Daimler says, over 2,600 orders have been placed.

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Transit buses, school buses and local delivery trucks and vans would seem to be a natural application for hybrid drive-train technology, and they are. The short-range, start and stop duty cycle is able to take maximum advantage of the regenerative braking to boost fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. So why is it that the number of hybrid school buses or parcel delivery trucks in the US remains mired in the dozens or low hundreds? Even hybrid transit buses only number in the low thousands.

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