|The Azure Balance hybrid architecture. System shown is representative of strip van and cutaway vehicle. The Electric Power Assist System (EPAS) is located behind the tailpipe on the shuttle bus chassis. Click to enlarge.|
Azure Dynamics Corporation has entered an exclusive agreement with Collins Bus Corporation of South Hutchinson, Kansas, the largest manufacturer of small school buses in North America .The new partnership will allow Collins to offer Azure’s proprietary Balance Hybrid Electric drivetrain as an option on Type A school buses built on Ford’s E-450 chassis. Type A school buses can typically transport between 14 and 30 passengers.
Working in collaboration with Ford Motor Company, Azure Dynamics developed the Balance parallel hybrid electric drive system for Ford’s E-450 Cutaway and Strip Chassis. The system combines a 100 kW AC induction traction motor, power electronics and 288 V NiMH battery pack with the conventional 5.4-liter Triton gasoline engine and 5-speed automatic Torqshift transmission.
|A Collins bus. Click to enlarge.|
The Balance hybrid can deliver up to a 40% increase in fuel economy, 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 30% reduction in maintenance costs.
The Balance system features:
- Engine stop/start capability
- Regenerative braking
- Electric-only mode at low speeds
- Electric launch-assist
School buses typically have frequent starts and stops and significant idle time picking up and dropping off children and while waiting in the queue. The Azure technology can help to significantly reduce fuel usage and emissions under these conditions.
Collins sells buses under both the Collins and Mid Bus brands in the United States and as Corbeil in Canada. The company has a developed network of distributors that serve its key markets and customers.
The Azure technology mated to the Ford E-450 chassis has undergone significant durability testing to be eligible for school bus programs. Azure technology is currently operating in major vehicle fleets in both the United States and Canada.