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FTA to Award $240K for Demonstration of Hybrid Small Transit Vehicle

The US Department of Transportation (DOT), through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is soliciting proposals from public entities for a project to demonstrate, in revenue service, small—less than 30-feet in length—transit vehicles employing a hybrid propulsion system.

FTA will invest up to $241,065, and is requiring at least a 20% cost share for this project. Proposed projects must include at least one partner located in the state of California.

Many transit agencies have already purchased full-size hybrid electric transit buses...However, there has not been much focus on deploying this new technology to small transit vehicles. These vehicles, most commonly 22- to 25-feet in length, are generally used for demand response service, and by small urban and rural agencies. Small transit vehicle designs are varied and widespread, and include small buses, cutaways and converted vans. Introducing hybrid technology to this market can improve the fuel efficiency of small transit vehicle fleets. Since hybrids still rely on ICE’s for power, the maintenance and infrastructure requirements are largely the same as traditional small vehicles. Because of this, hybrid technology can be deployed to small agencies and remote areas much easier than other clean propulsion options.

The project should work towards facilitating the introduction of hybrid technologies to small transit vehicles. The project must include a vehicle performance evaluation, based on objective data collection and analysis, including vehicle characteristics, performance and maintenance. This evaluation should be focused on data-based analysis of vehicle specifications, which can be used as objective input for the development of standard bus procurement guidelines.



Henry Gibson

A hydraulic hybrid design copied from the UPS hydraulic hybrid design is a good starting place. Perhaps Parry People Movers, who are putting two hydraulic hybrid rail transit vehicles into service this year, can build technology for rubber tired vehicles. Full electric hybrids seem to remain too expensive to build. Since a full electric bus with ZEBRA batteries has been transporting school children for years now, it may be a good one to look at as well. ..HG..

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