Orange County Transportation Authority Becomes First on West Coast To Place Hybrid-Electric Transit Bus Into Commercial Service

New hybrid-electric diesel bus cuts particulate emissions by 90% and NOx by 50% over conventional diesel buses.

Published: 14-Dec-2000

SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- At a special celebration at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) today became the first transit agency on the West Coast to place a full size hybrid-electric transit bus into commercial service.

The new state-of-the-art transit vehicle, recently delivered to OCTA from bus manufacturer New Flyer of America, is powered by an advanced hybrid- electric powertrain that dramatically reduces vehicle emissions, an attribute highly valued in smog challenged Southern California. The propulsion technology for the 40-foot low floor bus was developed by Allison Transmission, a division of General Motors (GM).

OCTA's hybrid-electric transit bus is equipped with a catalyzed particulate filter and produces much lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions than conventional diesel buses, lowering particle emissions (tiny pieces of soot and dust) by 90 percent, and NOx emissions (nitrogen oxide) by 50 percent.

"The Orange County Transportation Authority is very enthusiastic about the new hybrid-electric technology," said OCTA Vice Chairman Mike Ward. "We think it will be very successful for us here in Orange County, where air quality is an important issue."

Representatives from General Motors, Allison Transmission, New Flyer of America, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and Cummins Inc. were on hand at the formal kickoff event to help celebrate with OCTA officials.

The event launches Allison's hybrid Preview program. This program will bring Allison-powered, hybrid-electric transit buses to transit agencies throughout North America.

"The delivery of this bus brings a new range of low-emission alternatives for transit systems in Southern California and elsewhere," said General Motors Vice Chairman Harry Pearce. "GM is also excited about the opportunity to apply advanced hybrid-electric technology in our product, providing mobility to a significant number of people, and having the potential to have a substantial and immediate impact in improving the region's air quality."

"With today's event in Orange County, we have successfully taken hybrid- powered buses from an experimental to commercially viable technology," said Larry Dewey, President of Allison Transmission. "By leveraging the benefits of GM's advanced technologies, Allison Transmission will continue to develop the type of environmentally responsible and commercially sustainable hybrid propulsion systems that today's transit properties need. We are delighted to join with New Flyer to fill this need for low-emission, high-efficiency transit solutions."

"New Flyer welcomes this program as an opportunity to continue to offer OCTA and our other customers, products that are both innovative and reliable," said Jan den Oudsten, President & Chief Executive Officer of New Flyer of America.

"In the coming months, this new generation of hybrid buses, which employ some of the latest, most advanced technology from GM, will bring innovative and effective hybrid technologies to numerous transit systems throughout the nation," said den Oudsten. "We are delighted to have GM's Allison division as part of our team."

New Flyer will deliver a second hybrid bus to OCTA later this month.

"Cummins is pleased to join with Allison and New Flyer in this exciting project," said John Wall, Chief Technical Officer for Cummins, who supplied the bus' Cummins ISB clean diesel engine with a catalyzed soot filter. "We are confident that the use of Cummins' innovative ISB diesel engine in this application will result in a reliable, low emitting option for OCTA."

Representatives from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) applauded the new low-emission bus.

"AQMD and GM's Clean Air Partnership has brought this hybrid-electric bus to Orange County to provide cleaner air for bus riders and the public," said William A. Burke, AQMD Governing Board Chairman. "Along with alternative fuel vehicles, these buses appear to offer a promising alternative to conventional diesel buses and the large amounts of smog-forming gases they emit."

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