SORTA unveils five mini-hybrid buses

Posted on May 7, 2012

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority’s first five new mini-hybrid buses will go into service this week.

Despite its name, the new mini-hybrids are not small or traditional hybrid buses. The 40-foot buses have an advanced thermal cooling system technology which provides benefits, including:

•           Fuel economy improvement up to 10%
•           Up to 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
•           Reduction in maintenance costs
•           Increased safety through the elimination of hydraulic fluid leaks

The term “mini-hybrid” is used by the manufacturer, Engineered Machined Products (EMP), to refer to the advanced “electric” fan cooling system that replaces the hydraulically-driven fan. EMP’s technology provides benefits similar to that of a traditional hybrid, but with additional advantages, including:

•    A cost savings of about $240,000 per bus compared to a traditional hybrid

•    Efficiencies, which save Metro about $2,000 a year per bus in fuel savings and improved operational performance.

Thanks to federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) funds received last year, the new mini-hybrids will help Metro replace older buses that are past their 12-year useful life. Metro is one of the first few transit agencies to have this technology approved by Clean Fuels Grants, which traditionally has only approved hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. Metro has ordered 40 more mini-hybrid buses, which will go into service in the in the next several months.

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