EcoMark HEV Bus Fleet Enters Service in Denver

Hybrid-electric bus is first and largest to complete FTA testing.

Published: 07-Feb-2001

Denver - In the year 2000, the automotive industry saw the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight enter the market with a hybrid electric (HEV)propulsion system that delivered twice the fuel economy while reducing pollution.

The year 2001 will produce a major expansion of a bus fleet that exceeds what the Prius and Insight achieved last year. TransTeq is providing Denver a fleet of 36 buses that use the same size 70 HP engine fueled by clean compressed natural gas (CNG) to propel a ten-fold sized vehicle carrying 116 passengers with lower emissions than a car.

The EcoMark fleet enters 2001 as the largest full-size HEV bus fleet and operates on Denver's renowned 16th Street Mall. The route, which carries 50,000 passengers daily, is the backbone of the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) system and connects major light rail lines and bus terminals in downtown Denver.

"The EcoMark bus is the first HEV and the largest to successfully complete the rigorous Federal Transit Administration (FTA) "Altoona" test for noise, fuel economy, reliability, safety, maintainability and performance," says Paul Szilagyi, CEO of Transportation Techniques, LCC (TransTeq). "This allows for the FTA to fund 83 percent of the purchase price of the EcoMark."

"Anyone can see the inefficiency when a traditional bus diesel engine runs," says Szilagyi, "Look for the black exhaust clouds." The EcoMark’s innovative engineering and proprietary advanced control technologies allow for the benefits of clean alternative fuels, optimal engine operation, efficient electric drive motors (providing 440 HP) and regenerative braking to capture energy normally lost during braking to charge batteries. The EcoMark also has a unique ability to be operated as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) on battery power alone in zones where engines are banned.

"A major advantage of this technology is its adaptability to projected advancements in batteries, ultracapacitors, microturbines and fuel cells," says Szilagyi. An adaptation of the EcoMark is being promoted for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, a less costly alternative to light rail being developed in a number of cities. Further, the EcoMark generates its own power compared to electricity hungry light rail, a key consideration given the nation’s energy situation.

TransTeq is pursuing 34 individual projects from throughout the world with a total contract value of $300 million. "For those who need an environmentally superior vehicle," says Szilagyi, "our technology offers improved emissions, lower life cycle costs, lower costs per passenger and more than 30 innovative features to enhance the rider’s experience."

Denver-based TransTeq is an entrepreneurial company that designs, develops and manufactures advanced technology, environmentally superior, hybrid electric vehicles and is currently in its third round of funding.

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