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St. Louis Metro Testing Orion VII Hybrid Bus

St. Louis Post Dispatch. St. Louis, Missouri’s Metro is putting an Orion VII diesel series hybrid bus through its paces. The transit agency may end up putting a hybrid fleet on the road by 2009.

Metro tried adding 36 CNG buses in 1997, but wasn’t that pleased with the results. According to the report, the hybrid solution is more appealing.

The Orion hybrids—which are series hybrids, in which an engine powers a generator to power the electric drive motors— are gaining momentum in market. New York is the largest user, and Toronto and San Francisco have also placed orders. (Earlier post.)

The Orion VII buses with BAE HybriDrive combine a 5.9-liter, 260 hp (194 kW) Cummins ULSD (Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel) engine with a 120 kW traction generator. The traction motor delivers 250 hp (186 kW) and 2,700 lb-ft (3,657 Nm) of low-end torque.

Regenerative braking recharges the lead acid batteries used for energy storage. The series hybrid design eliminates the transmission, removing a major maintenance item on vehicles operated in heavy stop-and-go conditions and eliminating the jarring shift points common among conventionally propelled buses.

Depending upon usage, the Orion hybrids deliver 25%–35% better fuel economy compared to conventional diesels. New York City transit reports average operational gains in fuel efficiency of 28%.

Emissions reductions are substantial: 90% less particulate matter, 40% less NOx, and 30% fewer greenhouse gases.

St. Louis Metro is the 39th largest transit agency in the country, operating a total of 457 buses.

Orion Bus Industries is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler.


richard schumacher

Some interesting technical detail is available in .pdfs at


Anybody know if Capstone micro-turbines are being used in series hybrid buses? TIA :)


Oops. Google is your friend - leads me straight back to GCC:

Good work Mike :)

richard schumacher

I don't know who made them, but turbines were (mis)used in Advanced Vehicle Systems series hybrid buses in the 1990s and contributed to their failure. See



Let's hope this technology is found the be reliable and then scaled down for their cars and trucks. This design is very suitable for plug-in operation where possible.


A weakness of the Capstone turbine is the use of compressed air bearings. This is very good for stationary use like CHP put an invitation to expensive repairs on pothole strewn streets.

Ray W

Lets wait a few years and see how these hold up in NYC. If they hold in the conditions that NYC transit subjects these buses to we know that they will hold up anywhere in North America.


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