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Hybrid Buses


In 2006 Metro became one of the first transit agencies in New York State with 30 hybrids.  In 2011 Metro added 14 new hybrids to replace an equal number of the oldest conventional diesel fueled buses operating in a fleet of 303 buses, of which 98 are now clean operating hybrids. The hybrids are used throughout Metro's service area in Erie and Niagara counties.

Howard A. Zemsky, NFTA chairman said, “This $8.6 million purchase demonstrates the NFTA's ongoing commitment to providing the best possible alternative for cost-effective, clean-air transportation. By increasing our number of hybrids, we are not only being socially responsible by reducing air pollution, and our dependency on foreign oil, we are also dramatically lowering our operating costs based on improved fuel consumption and a decrease in maintenance costs.”

To put the savings into perspective, Metro has reduced its annual fuel consumption by 297,513 gallons, saving $750,000 cumulatively. Additionally, Metro has reduced its oil consumption by 3,755 quarts per year, saving $6,118. Making this reduction even more significant is the fact that Metro has added 589,306 miles of service per year.

How the GM Hybrid System operates . . .

Metro's hybrid electric buses were manufactured 100 percent in the U.S. by the Gillig Corp. of Hayward, Calif. and are powered by clean hybrid technology from Allison Transmission. They operate on both Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel and electricity that is generated within the vehicle and stored in batteries on the roof. The main features are improved fuel economy, lower maintenance costs and reduced emissions. Metro's hybrids are averaging 5.8 miles per gallon, compared with 4.2 miles per gallon for current diesel buses, reducing Metro's fuel consumption by 34 percent or more, based on the inherent efficiencies of the hybrid engine. Using a renewable energy power source will reduce Metro's overall consumption and dependency on fossil fuel.

The Allison Two-Mode Hybrid system is one of the most efficient hybrid systems available in the world today. Buses with this two-mode full hybrid system are presently transporting passengers in a number of cities such as Seattle, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Portland and Houston and at one of our nation's most treasured scenic attractions, Yosemite National Park.

Hybrids are environmentally friendly. The two-mode hybrid system produces 90 percent less hydrocarbon, 90 percent less carbon monoxide emissions, 50 percent less nitrogen oxides than conventional diesel buses, and lowers particulate emissions (tiny pieces of soot and dust) by up to 90 percent. The system also delivers 50 percent better acceleration than conventional diesel-power buses.

Two sources of power move the bus; an internal combustion engine and a hybrid transmission, which consists of two 100 kW motors and a 600-volt, nickel metal hydride battery pack. The engine is coupled to an electronically variable transmission that provides an infinite range of gear ratios to drive the wheels. The Control Module and Power Electronics DPIM (Dual Power Inverter Module) provide precise controls for the system and its electric motors.

When the bus accelerates from a stop, the battery-powered electric motors assist the diesel engine for powerful acceleration. As the vehicle comes up to speed, the diesel engine provides the power to maintain the speed once the vehicle is under way. At the same time, the engine-driven generator charges the batteries, giving the vehicle self-sustaining mobility. In addition, the vehicle's regenerative braking captures energy normally lost as brake heat and returns it to the vehicle's energy storage system (the battery) for reuse.

The low floor style bus lowers the entrance of the bus to the curb for entering passengers. Customer amities include air conditioning, a bike rack, automatic stop announcements, video surveillance cameras, an automatic passenger counting system and cushioned seats for 38 passengers. The new buses meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as do all Metro transit vehicles.

The Federal Transit Administration funded the purchase at $7,206,132; the New York State Department of Transportation and the NFTA each contributed $737,977. Each bus has a price tag of $620,149.