Capstone Turbine Corporation (NASDAQ: CPST), announced that it has received a 150 unit order for C30 Capstone MicroTurbines(R) to be deployed in ECOSaver IV hybrid electric buses manufactured by DesignLine International. This is the largest order to date for Capstone products in a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) application.
Hybrid electric buses equipped with Capstone microturbines, have been operating in various parts of the world for approximately 10 years. DesignLine buses are constructed with advanced extruded aluminum technology making them lightweight and very strong. The end result is the most fuel efficient vehicle available. In recent product demonstrations the ECOSaver IV hybrid buses equipped capstone turbines have seen up to a 100% improvement in fuel economy over a traditional diesel bus which equates to fuel savings of up to 6,000 gallons per year according to DesignLine.
The bus has a serial drive, running on batteries all the time, the turbine being only used to charge the batteries The buses are also equipped with regenerative braking. In urban driving the buses get about seven miles per gallon. The buses were tested by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority for two month beginning in October 2007.
Standard nominal specification are: Top speed: 62 mph, Max gradient: 15%, Max Power: 250 KW, Max Torque: 2500 NM which may change depending on configuration selected.
A string of 40 standard 12V sealed gel lead acid batteries batteries are connected together to form a 480V battery pack. The standard 42 AH battery pack stores 40 kWh of energy while the 70 Ah battery pack stores 67 kWh of energy. If a full battery pack of 42Ah batteries is used, the bus has a range of 18.6 miles on battery only, while if a full battery pack of 70Ah batteries is used, the bus has a range of 31 miles on battery only. The batteries power 3 phase AC induction motors.
Super/ultra capacitors provide the initial power for the acceleration and absorb the energy from the regenerative breaking.
Capstone MicroTurbines(R) are the only turbine systems being sold in volume on urban transit vehicles. Three primary attributes make Capstone-energized systems almost maintenance-free:
- A Single Moving Part - A single turbine/compressor shaft with integrated generator.
- Patented Air Bearings - The single moving part rides on a cushion of air. Consequently, Capstone MicroTurbines(R) never need oil or lubrication maintenance.
- Air Cooled - No radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses, belts or external accessories.
During zero emission mode the noise level is near zero and with the Capstone unit running the noise level is approximately 75% lower than a traditional diesel bus. DesignLine calculates a 40% reduction in overall lifecycle cost compared to a traditional diesel bus.
This order calls for shipments through June 2009 to Capstone's new plant in North Carolina. According to this article the 35 passenger buses cost $440,000.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, with manufacturing facilities in Charlotte and Ashburton, New Zealand, DesignLine was established in 1985 and produces high quality coaches, buses and specialty vehicles for the worldwide market with particular focus on its industry leading ECOSaver IV hybrid vehicle.