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December 17, 2007



I live in NY and the hybrid buses are a big improvement over the old ones. They are quieter and don't smell so bad when they go by. I'm glad to see the city's buying more. I hope they eventually switch the whole fleet to the hybrids.

JP Elverding - the Netherlands

Every small step in the good direction counts. Yet, being a patriot for once, I'd like to draw your attention this Dutch bus: http://www.e-traction.com/whisper_2.htm



@ Andy

I live in the state of NY, basically next door to a plant involved in production of components for these buses, and believe they are an excellent choice for transit companies.

Yet I would avoid wishing that MTA totally switches, because how advantageous these buses are depends upon the route.

They are a significant investment and cost much more than a standard diesel platform, so I want fleet managers to be totally satisfied with their performance.

Then they will tell other fleet managers in other cities to consider them.

Cyril R.

I was in NY during the marathon recently. The hybrid buses were indeed very quiet, especially the first bit of accelleration was very low noise. Other buses and trucks spewed large black smoke plumes when accellerating from a standstill, but the hybrid buses didn't at all.

Also, I've gotten the idea that all the buses and heavy trucks in the city were polluting a lot more than the automobiles, even though the latter are more numerous. So there should be a lot of improvement in terms of pollution when most buses and heavy trucks would employ such hybrid drivetrains. Considering we've got the batteries now that can take it, it should be technically doable. It's time for some stricter legislation on this topic.

And that Dutch bus gets almost 15 MPG! Somebody call Bloomberg, it's time to reinstate the colonial trade and import an army of these buses... :)


Cyril R said:
Other buses and trucks spewed large black smoke plumes when accellerating from a standstill, but the hybrid buses didn't at all.

Probably a bit of apple and oranges comparison here. All new diesel vehicles (which the hybrid buses would be) must meed strict emissions requirements, and generate a lot less smoke than thier older counterparts. Though a hybrid would have an easier time meeting the requirements, or exceeding them, due to the narrow load range over which the diesel engine is run. Part of this may be due to the design:
-A 6-cylinder, 6-liter, 194 kW (260 hp) Cummins diesel, running at nearly constant speed.
-A 120 kW generator producing electric power for the batteries.

It seems that the engine does not run at full power, since its main load (the generator) can take only 120 kW. The only other significant load I can think of would the the A/C, but that would probably be no more than 5 kW. The A/C my be electrically driven as well. Diesel engines are usually even cleaner when run somewhat under full power output rating.

Cyril R.

Good points donb. Of course not all pollution is visible either... it was just an observation. Some modern diesel are already very clean, they don't require particle filters even under the more strict regulations now. It seems an important thing we could do is get the older diesel vehicles off the road in an accellerated pace. Or retrofit them with modern nox catalysts and particle filters. Whichever is economical or practical would probably differ per truck/bus. And some of them have some nostaligic value too so they might better be retrofitted. A lot of people like the look of those old big trucks.

Diesel engines are usually even cleaner when run somewhat under full power output rating.

That's probably the reason they apparently oversized the diesel. Thanks I was wondering about that.

A lot of modern (non-hybrid) big diesels already operate at very low RPM most of the time, with diesel torque increasing over recent decades and more gears lowering average RPM requirements. This brings up the question how much could be gained with hybrid technology, especially when looking at cost/performance. Probably depends on the route, lots of stops or freeway etc. that jcwinnie mentioned.

Also, with novel materials for diesel engines, the compression ratio could be improved, increasing efficiency of diesels even more, especially big trucks and buses.

What a lame blog

There have been at least five huge developments regarding energy storage and generation since this entry (e.g., nanosolar's first sale and the Stanford nano-wire discovery) and not a blip here. This place used to be my go-to for stories like that, but I'm officially deleting my bookmark.


The nanowire battery thing is definitely worth a post - a battery that rivals liquid fuels for energy density shows how far and how fast the game can shift. And demonstrates that R&D can open pathways that could make a huge difference. Whether it turns out to be commercialized or not, the claim that batteries can't ever rival liquid fuels has just been proven wrong. If it's profitable to ship coal around the world, with batteries like this, we could ship electricity.


Jim has been a little slow this past week. Presumably he has been busy, I hope he isn't suffering from a health issue.

A few interesting links:
The first claims to have a method for making cheap 30% efficient cells via nanotechnology. -Or is it just a prof & grad student hyping their project?
The second discusses the potential battery tech breakthrough. The last is nanosolars corp website.


I should correct myself - I misread the numbers for the energy density for those batteries. Still a way to go to be as energy dense as hydrocarbons but with a 10 fold increase in capacity, and given the greater efficiencies of electric transport it's still a huge leap and if flowing into commercially produced batteries, would give EV's very good range and thus be very attractive.


Interesting that BAE will be using lithium-ion batteries. They have up to this point used fairly conventional lead-acid batteries. Almost every report I have heard is that customers are highly satisfied with the “Hybridrive” system. I do hope that the Li-ion batteries and the charging, control and safety circuits are ready for a large scale commercial deployment. I know that NYC transit has made a big commitment to hybrid drive buses. They have in service or on order 1700 hybrid drive buses; that will be almost half of their bus fleet. They had been using some CNG buses but decided the hybrid electric buses were so much better that they canceled the CNG program

I can’t help but wonder if BAE has plans to use or at least test Firefly Energies carbon-foam lead-acid battery. BAE is one of the large corporate investors in Firefly’s startup venture. Unfortunately BAE is a large corporation and the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. In this particular case I think the investment in Firefly was done by United Defense Industries, Inc. UDI was purchased by BAE and became part of BAE’s Land & Armaments Operating Group. The hybrid drive was developed by BAE’s Electronics & Integrated Systems Operating Group. These are two large (about 30 K employees) and very different parts of the same company. L & A group makes things like cannons and tanks while E & IS does things like electronic warfare, flight controls, information systems and other high technology electronic systems. I don’t know if they talk to each other (or even understand each other).

If Firefly lives up to their promises, their advanced carbon foam battery is a strong competitor to Li-ion batteries. They are a lot cheaper and don’t have the potential safety problems that Li-ion has.


The new 2010 Orion VII will belong to Ulmer Park Bus Depot Brooklyn Divison.

bucket trucks

hybrid public transportation is a great idea. I am glad they are moving up toward helping the environment.

CGS Motorsports

Good job on the improvement. It's really good to innovate the cars/bus/truck industry with this new technology. This is some sort of responding to the call of time and crisis we are experiencing.

Rug Cleaning Los Angeles

How is it Canada is always one step ahead of us on this stuff?? We need to catch up!

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Do you think hybrid or electric buses better?

SEO Services

We need to get a bunch of these for Los Angeles.

Air Purifiers

I'm really happy that this technology is transferring over to buses and larger vehicles, but I wish there were more personal vehicles available, too!

Tours in Venice

Is this Daimler like the company that Chrysler owns?

toyota car lease deals los angeles

So great! Glad hybrids are growing in popularity!

Furniture Stores in Los Angeles

I want to buy a hybrid bus now, I'd save so much on gas I could afford it! Haha

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Are these buses all over the country now? I'd rather ride in one of those than a gas guzzler!

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