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monsoon

CATS Hybrid Busses

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very cool. i just bought a hybrid myself... quite nice to get 30-40% better fule mileage during these times...they are calling for $3 gas by labor day! :blink:

the article didn't say how much fuel these busses save or how much more expensive they are.

it is good that not only are they better for air, but also save operating expenses, which saves transit budget in the long run.

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NCSU had a demonstrator hybrid bus running on the Wolfline last spring. Pretty neat.

City buses probably see more mileage improvement as hybrids than any other type of vehicle. They almost never go over 40mph so wind resistance isn't an issue, and they brake a lot (at bus stops and at stoplights).

I think I read somewhere that hybrid buses actually operate more like a diesel-electric locomotive plus battery, with no direct connection (fluid or mechanical) from the diesel engine to the wheels. Instead, the wheels are driven strictly with electric motors - one at each wheel - which significantly cuts down on the mechanical complexity of the drivetrain. Electric motors have a very broad power band, so they never need to shift gears - and they have fewer moving parts than a mechanical drivetrain and are thus more durable. It also makes it easier to build low-floor buses because you don't need a solid rear axle. It's also easier on the engine because it can run essentially at a constant RPM, which diesels really like to do.

The slight drop in efficiency compared with a mechanical transmission is more than made up for with the other benefits. Seriously, pretty much the only downside is initial cost.

Express routes and intercity buses will likely never be replaced with hybrids, however. No braking means no regeneration which means little benefit.

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holy snikeys

five buck gas is absolutely crazy.  that could really seal the deal on more urban living, and people going up Mayor McC to kiss his feet for getting light rail built in time for 2007. 

ten years ago it was 99 cents...  it wasn't that long ago that 2 dollars a gallon in california was a national news story.  Now we're closing in on 3.

These ridership numbers are almost certain to increase dramatically under those conditions.

Again, very very glad i bought i hybrid :).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

At $5.00 per gal. standing room only on CATS

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These hybrid buses do cost $200K more than the normal buses. I don't know if the operations savings over the lifetime of the bus will cover that cost or not. Bottomline is that its better for the air we breathe.

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Well, in regards to the $5 gas, different analysts say different things. Some say that the prices will go back down as the big players stop speculating on gas prices and buying up all of the surpluses while others say the end of higher prices is not in sight. Right now there are several major refineries not working properly, somewhat limiting supply. We shall see.

It sure would be odd to spend $100 filling up my car. Europeans have been doing it for a while though. I think Californians spend a lot on gas but I am not sure how much they do.

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today's article on the hybrid busses does indicate the gas savings. Apparently, these hybrid busses use half the gas, which i think is an amazing operation expense reduction for the transit system. i'd bet that with savings like that, most of the busses bought from now on will take advantage of that powertrain technology.

It sounds like a huge saving, except when gas costs $3.00 a gallon it'll just get them back to what they were spending in... 2004...

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These hybrid buses do cost $200K more than the normal buses. I don't know if the operations savings over the lifetime of the bus will cover that cost or not. Bottomline is that its better for the air we breathe.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i'm sure over the lifetimes of the busses, it will at least get close.... 3.5 mpg when they are in constant operation means they spend a lot of money on gas, so switching to 7mpg could potentially give them hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over 7-10 years.

even if they only save $100k, over the lifetime, the pollution savings and the 'role model effect' (convincing others in the viability of advanced powertrains) might easily provide enough value that it is worth it to society.

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Looks as if CATS has made the decision not to purchase any further hybrid buses at this time as they are 2X as expensive as regular buses. Their new plan is to purchase diesel buses that run on low sulfer fuel starting in 2007. They will have filters to stop 90% of the particles that come out of the exhaust.

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