TPI Composites Inc. was selected to lead a congressionally-funded All Composite Transit Bus Program in conjunction with the National Automotive Center (NAC), the U.S. Army's advanced vehicle research and development arm.
The program's purpose is to develop next generation vehicle technology that will help public transit buses across the U.S. improve fuel efficiency. The $2 million program was sponsored by Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and approved by Congress as part of the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill signed into law by President Obama in December.
A heavy-duty, light-weight composite bus can give transit authorities the flexibility to increase fuel efficiency for conventional engines or easily carry clean propulsion and fuel systems including CNG, LNG and hybrid-electric systems. Additional advantages of composite buses include reduced corrosion, reduced operations and maintenance costs and increased durability. These attributes can contribute to a "greener" U.S. public transit fleet.
A decade ago, TPI Composites collaborated on a program that designed and prototyped the first all composite U.S. transit bus. Since that time, hundreds of composite buses have been placed into service in cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix. This new program is expected to build upon past technical successes to create a next generation transit bus.