A hybrid bus purchasing consortium consisting of 11 transit agencies in California, Nevada and New Mexico has awarded a contract to Gillig Corp. for the purchase of up to 157 diesel-electric hybrid buses powered by GM’s hybrid powertrain.
The purchase contract, spearheaded by the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) in California, is the second largest since GM’s hybrid diesel-electric system made its debut in 2003.
San Joaquin RTD formed the consortium with other transit agencies to boost purchasing power and reduce per-vehicle costs through mass ordering. San Joaquin RTD plans on buying 50 hybrid buses, while the remaining 107 buses will be available for other consortium members.
Joining San Joaquin RTD in the hybrid bus consortium are the following California transit agencies: Benicia Transit, Fairfield/Suisun Transit, Golden Gate Transit, Humboldt Transit Authority, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), Monterey-Salinas Transit, SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Santa Barbara MTD. Citifare of Reno/Sparks, Nevada and ABQ RIDE in Albuquerque, NM also joined the consortium. Deliveries will begin in mid-2006 and conclude in late 2007.
The California consortium members are purchasing hybrid diesel-electric technology in part to help meet California’s stringent clean-air requirements for urban buses. The GM hybrid system provides transit agencies the option of a clean-air technology solution that has been reviewed and certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Currently, there are nearly 380 GM hybrid-equipped buses operating in 29 cities in the US and Canada. For 2006, GM starts the year with an additional 203 hybrid-powered buses scheduled for delivery to six U.S. cities.
The design of the hybrid powertrain in the buses is the foundation for the two-mode hybrid system currently under development by GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW, and that is targeted for application in the 2008 Tahoe full-size SUV, among other GM vehicles.
The GM hybrid buses in service have had some mixed reviews, with Seattle Metro, currently the largest single user of the hybrids, reporting fuel consumption much higher than expected. (Earlier post.) And although Seattle Metro is pleased with the reduction in emissions delivered by the hybrids, research conducted by the University of Connecticut finds that particle emissions from two GM hybrid diesel-electric buses purchased by CTTransit and emissions from two comparable CTTransit diesel buses were statistically identical. (Earlier post.)