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Daimler Receives Orders for 1,052 Orion VII Diesel-Electric Hybrid Buses; Majority to Use Li-Ion Battery Pack

17 December 2007

The Orion VII series hybrid bus. Click to enlarge.

Daimler Buses North America has received orders totaling 1,052 Orion VII Next Generation diesel-electric series hybrid transit buses. MTA New York City Transit has ordered 850 and the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) has ordered 202. These buses will be powered by BAE Systems’ Hybri­Drive diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system and delivered into 2010.

This order will bring MTA’s diesel-electric hybrid bus fleet to almost 1,700 units, making it the largest diesel-electric hybrid fleet in the world. With this order, Orion transit buses will account for almost 50% of MTA New York City Transit’s entire fleet.

OC Transpo has ordered 202 Orion VII Next Generation diesel-electric hybrid transit buses to be delivered by 2009. This delivery will make OC Transpo the third largest hybrid bus fleet in Canada.

The hybrid drive in the Orion includes a 6-cylinder, in-line, 5.9-liter Cummins diesel that delivers 194 kW (260 hp) at 2300 rpm; a 120 kW generator; a 32 kWh battery pack (initially lead-acid, but a majority of the new orders will use a lithium-ion battery pack with cells from A123Systems (earlier post), according to Daimler); and a 186 kW (250 hp) traction motor that delivers 2,100 lb-ft (2,847 Nm) of torque (continuous), with 2,700 lb-ft (3,661 Nm) peak.

Compared to standard diesel propulsion, these hybrid buses deliver up to 30% better fuel economy while greatly reducing emissions: 90% less particulate matter, 40% less NOx and 30% fewer greenhouse gases.

With 1,100 hybrid transit buses already on the road, 460 pending deliveries and the announced new orders, Orion has received more than 2,600 orders for the hybrid since the launch of the Orion hybrid bus in 2003.

Daimler Buses North America, headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. (United States), is a Daimler AG company. It combines three commercial bus brands under one corporate structure: Orion transit buses, Setra motorcoaches, and the Dodge Sprinter shuttle bus.

December 17, 2007 in Heavy-duty, Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)


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Roll em out.
Might add some supercaps for enhanced regenerative braking - not sure if they need it.
I would love it if all the buses that go up and down my road were hybrid - much less "local pollution", whatever abut GHG emissions.
It would be great if > 50% of all city bus replacements were hybrid - it would have a great effect on ground pollution levels building up over the next 10 years.
It would, in fact be great if all cars had at least stop/start technology for local and GHG pollution reasons - this is not a particularly expensive technology and so is practical, now.
I suppose the thing is to legislate for the desired effect and let the car companies figure out how to implement it.


The ICE generator unit could run on NG and further reduce air pollution and GHG.

Low floor city buses can store NG in larger tanks on the roof.

What are they doing with a 6-litre diesel engine?

ENECO here in the UK have a fully functional series-hybrid bus that works fine with a 1.9 litre VW TDi unit. It recently did a 300 mile route at 20 mpg (not bad for a 10.5 tonne bus!).

I've seen the pack that's in these buses. Believe it or not, it's built using the 26650 power tool cells, just like the Hymotion packs. It's also air cooled. There's surprisingly little control electronics, despite having several thousand cells.

Now if they were burning ultra low sulpher or biodiesel, the renewable cycle would improve greatly. But I gotta hand it to New York City - a capitalist mecca leading the world in hybrid public transit. Wonders never cease.

Unfortunatly, my home city's public transport company is not interested in any of this fancy new hybrid stuff. They have invested a lot in LPG (some CNG) busses with ultra-low-floor (~12 cm step height when stationary). Also, they claim that no significant numbers of hybric public transport busses are currently deployed.

Oddly enough, that's just too true for the types of busses running all over the EU.

I really wonder when MAN will wake up and install a hybrid drivetrain in their Lion's City series:

(BTW I'm from vienna, austria, where the public transport company claims to have the cleanest fleet (but without giving the context of that claim :) ).

Progress. With a 30% improvement in mileage the mileage might get as high a 3.5 to 4 mpg for each bus.

To equal a SUV getting 19 mpg, carrying 2 passengers, the hybrid bus only needs a all-the-time load factor of 11 passengers or greater, persistently averaged on the bus to be as efficient as the gas guzzler SUV.

That figure is the "persistent" number of passengers needed to break even versus a guzzler SUV's mileage.

For example, at the far end of the route heading into the city, there are presumably zero passengers and the passenger count must build to a full bus of 22 or more as the buss proceeds on its route; so that on average you need that there always be an average of 11(or more), passengers onboard. Conversely, a bus leaving center city would presumably be fully loaded and debark passengers as it went on its route. It too needs to persistently average the same number of passengers to justify that it breaks even trying to save energy.

If we substitute a mid size car getting 25 mpg, instead of the SUV, then the load factor needs to be almost 15 "persistent" passengers.

Few bus routes except those commuter express buses loaded on drive-in lots in rush hours, meet this criteria. The average bus route has nowhere near this load factor, so they are more inefficient than a car; and may not be as efficient as a gas guzzling SUV.

Too Bad; but at least the hybrid bus has a chance of achieving the requisite load factor.

Regular buses with 2 mpg averages have almost no chance of actually being more efficient than the private auto. The problems are compounded by the need to provide service in off hours, so as not to strand passengers who cannot return from their previous bus provided destination.

We have all often seen buses operate off-hours, without a single paying passenger, merely on the off chance one may need the service. This off-hour service in practice, more than doubles the persistent load factor needed to break even during normal hours.

By comparison, few private auto trips are made for no purpose, or just to be "just cruising" (except for teenagers wandering about seeking to meet other teens on a Friday night.)

The rational thing to do would be to park those buses and conserve fuel by letting everyone drive private autos instead. Reality would say to park the "guzzler buses" and forget them; but as they are the Unthinking Man's Guide to conserving energy, we could never do that.

An Operations Research study always provides an answer and advises for a "Jitney" type service; but that is thwarted by the taxi companies and taxi drivers invested in another sub-optimal service, in the USA. Although Jitney services are frequently available elsewhere. Here in the USA, we only see it as a Jitney service to and from Airports or Sporting Events.

looks like this development has the CNG lobby a bit worried. In a docketed comment to the california energy commission, the national cng lobby actually advocated not adopting any policies pitting cng against diesel-hybrids!

page 3:


You have obviously never been to New York City. In rush hour the buses are all packed to the gills, througout the entire route. Off hours I have almost never seen one with fewer then ten passengegrs anywhere.

Please go to New York and ride the buses, and think about replacing each one with 20-50 automobiles, and think about the impact on traffic -- and about finding parking for all of them. Then come back and post again.

It was just this type of goofy advice which led NYC to replace trains with vehicle lanes on many of its bridges -- resulting in a threefold drop in passenger crossings, and much longer travel times during rush hour!

[q->t to email]

ouch i was about to say good job stan on his post

but adam did a good job of hosing him down as well.

the debate continues, frankly i'm all for private autos since i'm a selfish guy, but here in b.c the bus that has a small passenger load is very common, and yes they are running old school diesel buses with no particular filter. it hurts but luckily their tailpipe is way up high in the air~!

anyone ever sat next to a diesel truck only to have its exhaust pointing towards your driver window? YUCK i swear to someone the prerequisite for buying a truck you should be able to stand that diesel exhaust for more than a minute before putting your money down.

and yes you ignorant biatches, low sulfur diesel is in full effect in b.c it still STINKS and i press the recirculate button EVERYTIME when i'm behind a diesel, to those that don't smell its already too late to save your lungs!!!

Too bad the usual complement of SUVs is about the same as cars, which means on average less than 2.

Orion VII buses get 3.5 MPG for conventional diesel. The hybrid gets 5.3-5.4 MPG.

More info on the general state of hybrid buses can be found at

I don't know about the overall logic of bashing public transport in favour of private cars. You can't dictate the operational hours or restrict them or else there would be no choice but to use cars. Buses have a lifecycle cost savings over private automobile use, impacting other secondary effects such as the costs of congestion, especially in cities. The costs of not having some form of public transport far outweighs the costs of having it. Just look at any urban setting that has public transportation interruptions.

I've studied some operational research and it is very dependent on the variables. Are there times when the bus is empty and it doesn't pay? Of course, but better planned routes and rights of way create in demand services which ensure passenger use. Whenever I've been on a bus it's been pretty full at whatever hour I've taken them. I've taken buses from Uuniversity at 4-5 AM and they are full, so I don't know what you're talking about. Maybe they are going to the depot.

Fascinating use of figures by the way but since you don't exactly give how it was figured, the size of bus (which greatly affects mileage and savings), the mileage (which was off), how exactly it compares. Just saying that it needs 15 people doesn't exactly say what the real comparison is (15 people/hr??) and using a 2 person SUV trip is not realistic.

I would be interested in knowing exactly where these figures came from and whether the study is open and complient with good policies and not something partisen.

1. SUV getting 19mpg is highway driving, try 12mpg or less in the city and maybe 9mpg over a short trip. My neighbor had a Dodge pickup he drove in town and got 7-8mpg in the winter.
2. Hybrid busses can get up to 8-10mpg depending on the driving route.

This product will pollute so much less than a conventional diesel that it's almost to the level of a CNG bus. The diesel only has to charge the battery pack. The electric motor has all of the varying torque and speed requirements usually reserved for a diesel in a conventional bus.

But the real appeal of this bus to metro fleet managers is a greatly reduced operating cost. The reduced emissions is a side benefit.

i agree with your post, it's just too bad the Jitney service competes with the existing monopolies of bus and taxi. Actually it's the political systems that keeps Jitneys out but using small commuter cars would seem efficient.

Transport Fleet managers always come out with the big lie that 15 seater buses cost the same to operate as 65 seaters. Perhaps we should be challenging their Co2 gms/mile instead. We all know one thing, that you don't need 280Hp engines to charge batteries.
Also some urban routes average 5 to 7 miles per hour. Sure don't need 280Hp for that. Finally most of those hybrid buses in Ottawa, where its -10 degrees C at this time of year and even colder after dark, will be found parked at terminals with their engines running to keep their drivers cosy. A 5.9 litre Cummins diesel being used as a foot warmer. LOL

So because one bus in Ottawa is wasting fuel in winter, we should scrap all buses everywhere and give everyone their own Hummer. Why? To conserve fuel (by using several orders of magnitude more). Some twisted brains indeed.

Hey Jimmy
we both want reponsibility with the problem of diesel particulate in the environment we breathe. It appears that some interests are working against the public good. These Orion buses are still fielding an excuse to install a 280Hp 5.9 litre despite the substantial assist of an electric system. An earlier poster mentioned the British company that has installed a 1.8L diesel in the iconic London double decker and the full article may be somewhere on this site. TFL or Transport for London were a sponsor. We know it can be done.
I hope you don't hold this against me, for my technical knowledge, but in the early sixties I held a Public Service Vehicle License and as a transport worker worked from downtown to suburbia.

Many parts of a route averaged a good deal less than 5 mph. When congestion got very bad downtown, it was not uncommon for an inspector to transfer my passengers and turn my bus around to get me back on schedule. So the use of a 280Hp engine would be the least of my worries.

As an aside, I have heard of elderly passengers being seriously injured while still walking to their seat when the driver took off to join traffic. Consideration to the elderly, yes I know -the world as if people mattered, would have mandated electronic servo drives on public transport. These are the only powertrain that can consistently produce a perfect S-curve acceleration ramp able to whisk a vehicle up to speed without the hydraulic 'jerk' that can push an older person off their feet.

But to continue, the majority of Buses leave the Depot staggered around 6 a.m and begin returning around midnight. Their engines are run continuously. At each end of the route are ten minute rest periods, often they are forfeited due to traffic delays. Outside peak hours the driver may get to use the opportunity to stretch his legs and have a cigarette while standing near the radiator for warmth.It was common practice not to shut off the engine since these terminal points were usually in the newer remote housing areas with no convenient access to public phones in case of restarting issues. It's really easy to flood a warm engine ! And this was not in a subzero climate like Ottawa has for five months of the year.
And regarding Ottawa, I can assure you that those 202 Cummins diesels in those new hybrid OC Transpo buses will be running all day just like the non hybrid ones are doing right now. Someone want to call me on this ?

Although not mentioned by name P.34 on this pdf makes a March 2006 reference to the WrightBus with the 1.9L diesel.

The argument that public transit bus service is not as efficient as operating a personal vehicle is flawed for several reasons. In a location restricted in capacity for parking, add at least $1,000 per year to the cost of operating a personal vehicle for the required parking space, equivalent to the loss of a couple hundred gallons of fuel to create and maintain that parking space, added to the cost of constructing and maintaining additional traffic lanes. Several dozen of my daily passengers will be unable to utilize a private transportation system: 1] Blind; 2] Disabled; 3] Alcoholic; 4] Poor; 5] Foreign without driver's license; 6] Illegal alien; 6] Underage youth. While sympathy may not extend to all of these, public transit does provide access to work and community functions for a diverse group of human beings. Concerning idling, bus routes are designed with break time in order to allow for schedules to be met during times of peak service, heavy traffic, and poor weather conditions. Shutting-down can destroy turbos and may cause other mechanical damage. However, hybrids can be designed to charge battery packs during idling, downsizing engine size while not reducing torque. Every bus in the United States should be capable of 10 MPG of diesel in hybrid configuration. However, almost every private vehicle in the United States should be capable of 50 MPG gasoline with hybrid technology.

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