City officials in Kansas are eager to test a new plug-in hybrid bus.

The first DaimlerChrysler prototype of its kind in the U.S. is scheduled to arrive within the next two weeks to be tested by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Officials hope to obtain an additional $1 million in federal funding to secure another bus for testing, possibly in the Lawrence area. That community is looking to replace its bus fleet and city leaders are interested in the technology.

About 60 communities already have hybrid busses, such as the GM models with the dual-mode technology. This new bus can charge up overnight but will last only 40 miles before the diesel engine has to recharge the batteries. Initial cost is the main factor but officials think the premium can be made up in lower operating expenses. The city doesn't have to make up its mind soon. The plug-in hybrid bus most likely won't go into production before 2010 as more real-world testing is needed.

[Source: Lawrence Journal-World]

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