Hybrid Buses Could Be Built in Kansas

Optima Bus Corp. is planning the first hybrid-electric vehicle of its kind and, area officials hope, creating jobs outside the aircraft industry.

Published: 17-Jan-2005

Economic development leaders are touting the need to diversify the Wichita-area economy, and they think they found one way to do it with Optima Bus Corp. The Park City maker of trolleys, and30-foot and 35-foot buses has its sights on manufacturing the first commercially viable 30-foot, low-floor hybrid-electric bus, in part thanks to two $100,000 loans from Sedgwick County and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

"This is a big deal for Optima Bus Company," chief executive Michael Monteferrante said. "We expect sales to blossom because of it."

The company predicts $40 million in sales this year and expects that number to double by 2008. Monteferrante predicts that hybrid bus sales will be 40 percent of Optima's total sales by 2009.

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