BC transit sticking with clean diesel buses over hybrids for now

BC Transit, the company that operates transit bus services in the Vancouver-British Columbia region, has decided to go with new diesel buses instead of hybrids for the time being. The company has been operating half a dozen buses equipped with the GM-Allison two-mode hybrid system for over a year in the Victoria and Kelowna BC areas. The hybrids performed well in the more urban Victoria service area where the stop-and-go duty cycle allowed them to achieve up to twenty eight percent better efficiency than the 1999-2003 generation of diesel buses.
However, when compared to the newer Nova Cummins clean diesel buses purchased since 2003 the hybrids only had an eight percent advantage on the Victoria routes. On the Kelowna routes that feature fewer stops per mile and higher average speeds the advantage dropped to only one percent. Based on the price of $800,000 compared to $500,000 for the Nova bus, BC Transit can't make a business case for the switch to hybrids for these service areas because they have no hope of recovering the difference over the twenty-year lifespan of a bus. The Nova buses use Cummins diesels that run on ultra-low sulfur diesel and run much cleaner than the previous generation of diesel buses. If the cost of the hybrid buses can't be offset by the savings the transit company would have to raise fares, driving down ridership and offsetting the gains even more.

[Source: Saanich News via GreenCarCongress]

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