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

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.


Jim G.

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.

Kim Fenske, JD, MST

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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