The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) rolled out the first of 41 new diesel-electric hybrid buses as part of a transition to an all-hybrid bus fleet for the Baltimore region.
Five of the new buses have begun service, and the balance will be in operation by January 2011. The new hybrids, manufactured by New Flyer Industries, rely on battery- powered electric motors at speeds up to 12 MPH, after which they transition to a combination of electric and diesel power. The buses operate on electric power approximately 90 percent of the time, and the batteries are recharged by the diesel engine and the braking process.
By using 23 percent less fuel than conventional diesel buses, the new buses emit less pollution and less carbon, thereby helping Maryland meet its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The current hybrid fleet saves more than 530,000 gallons of fuel annually. At $2.50 per gallon, that adds up to a savings of more than 1.3 million dollars per year, according to the MTA.
With the introduction of 41 additional buses, MTA's hybrid inventory totals 161 out of a total fleet of 748. The fleet will have approximately 500 hybrid buses by 2016.