Hybrid-Ultracap Bus Passes Fed's Durability Test

ISE's ThunderVolt(TM) Hybrid Gasoline-Electric Drive System Uses Ultracapacitors to Capture and Reuse Energy from Braking to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Emissions

Published: 27-Feb-2005

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Maxwell Technologies, Inc.  announced today that a transit bus powered by an ISE Corp. ThunderVolt(TM) hybrid gasoline-electric drive system using Maxwell's BOOSTCAP(R) ultracapacitors for electrical energy storage and power delivery has successfully completed a rigorous, 15,000-mile, durability and safety test conducted by the Federal Transit Administration at the Altoona Research and Testing Center in Altoona, Pa.

Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer, said that the Altoona certification represents an important "stamp of approval" for ISE's ThunderVolt drive system, which employs ultracapacitors to store electrical energy generated by the bus's braking system and reuse that energy to assist acceleration, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

"The transportation industry in general, and municipal transit agencies in particular, rely on certifications such as this to guide their purchasing decisions, so they are critical for broad adoption of new products that systems integrators such as ISE and components suppliers such as Maxwell are introducing," Balanson said. "This is another in a series of milestones that demonstrate ultracapacitors' growing acceptance as a standard energy storage and power delivery solution for transportation applications."

Last year, ISE and Maxwell announced orders for 44 ThunderVolt-powered buses by transit agencies in the cities of Long Beach and Elk Grove, California.

David Mazaika, president of San Diego-based ISE, said that the bus that completed the Altoona test is a 40-foot New Flyer transit model equipped with a ThunderVolt system consisting of an ultra-low-emission Ford Triton V10 gasoline engine, Siemens ELFA(TM) electric motors, motor controllers and generators and a ThunderPack II(TM) ultracapacitor-based energy storage system comprised of 288 Maxwell BOOSTCAP(R) ultracapacitors.

Mazaika said that the ThunderVolt system is the only commercially available gasoline-electric hybrid drive system certified to meet the California Air Resources Board's strict emissions standards. ISE also produces a diesel-fueled ThunderVolt system, using a Cummins ISB02 engine. ISE's hybrid systems are available with either battery- or ultracapacitor-based energy storage modules. Mazaika said that for urban transit buses, ultracapacitors offer several advantages over batteries.

"Ultracapacitor-based systems achieve higher fuel economy than comparable battery-based systems because they are more efficient in absorbing braking energy and do not require air conditioning," Mazaika said. "They also are projected to perform reliably over hundreds of thousands of discharge-recharge cycles, which equates to years of maintenance-free service."

Mazaika noted that Maxwell's BOOSTCAP(R) ultracapacitors' durability and long cycle life enable ISE to provide a five-year warranty on its ThunderPack II system.

"We believe that this drive system and the warranty we provide establish a new standard in the bus industry," Mazaika said. "It gives transit operators the assurance that they won't be faced with extensive maintenance and replacement costs that are typical with some battery-based energy storage systems."

Balanson said that Maxwell also is supplying ultracapacitors for industrial applications such as automated utility meter reading and wind energy systems that are now in production, and many other applications, including automotive, electric rail, industrial automation and backup power, that are in various phases of validation and field testing.

ISE is a leading supplier of hybrid-electric and fuel cell-based drive systems for heavy-duty vehicles including buses, trucks, airport equipment and specialized military vehicles. In addition to selling complete hybrid-electric drive systems, ISE also sells a variety of electric and hybrid-electric vehicle components and offers a range of vehicle integration and support services. For more information, please visit www.isecorp.com.

Maxwell is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative, cost-effective energy storage and power delivery solutions. BOOSTCAP(R) ultracapacitor cells and multi-cell modules and POWERCACHE(R) backup power systems provide safe and reliable power solutions for applications in consumer and industrial electronics, transportation and telecommunications. CONDIS(R) high-voltage grading and coupling capacitors help to ensure the safety and reliability of electric utility infrastructure and other applications involving transport, distribution and measurement of high-voltage electrical energy. Radiation-mitigated microelectronic products include power modules, memory modules and single board computers that incorporate powerful commercial silicon for superior performance and high reliability in aerospace applications. For more information, please visit www.maxwell.com.

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