Orion Hybrid Bus Passes New York Reliability Test, Making Way for Start of 325 Production Deliveries

Orion Hybrid Bus Passes New York Reliability Test, Making Way for Start of 325 Production Deliveries

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers


The latest in advanced, clean hybrid-electric propulsion technology has completed reliability tests at MTA New York City Transit, clearing the way for deliveries of 325 hybrid buses to begin this year.

The Orion VII bus equipped with BAE SYSTEMS HybriDrive(TM) propulsion system is a low floor, high-capacity transit bus designed to help transit operators achieve significantly lower emissions, higher fuel economy, reduced brake maintenance, and better acceleration.

The Orion VII hybrid passed the rigorous structural and in-service qualification tests New York City requires before buses are qualified for service. The tests, considered to be the toughest in the transit industry, involved operating the bus every day for 21 hours a day on a route through the Bronx.

The hybrid bus is driven by a single electric motor that is powered by a diesel-driven generator and an energy storage unit. The engine is smaller than that used in conventional buses and runs at nearly constant speed for clean operation and optimum efficiency.

To further boost efficiency, the vehicle has a “regenerative braking” system that uses the drive motor to slow the bus, effectively turning the motor into a generator that produces additional current to charge the energy storage system. The feature also reduces brake wear by about one-third, reducing the need for brake maintenance.

In chassis testing, the Orion VII Hybrid bus produced 97% less carbon monoxide, 95% fewer particulates (the black smoke commonly associated with diesel combustion), half the nitrogen oxide, and one-third fewer of the “greenhouse” gases believed to contribute to global warming. Hybrid bus fuel economy was significantly improved over that of a standard diesel bus as well.

Orion Bus Industries and BAE SYSTEMS first teamed up in 1996 to design, build, and test clean, efficient hybrid-electric transit buses. Since then, the companies have jointly delivered more than 20 units to customers on both coasts for evaluation, accumulated more than half a million miles in revenue-service testing, and taken orders for 325 Orion VII hybrids from New York City Transit.

Orion Bus Industries, a unit of DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America, is based in Mississauga, Ontario, and Oriskany, New York.

BAE SYSTEMS is a global leader in aerospace and transportation products and systems. HybriDrive(TM) propulsion systems are produced at BAE SYSTEMS facility in Johnson City, New York.

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