London-based BAE Systems, a global aircraft, aerospace, defense and security company with 93,000 employees worldwide, is involved in a variety of industries, including public transportation. Its HybriDrive technology is a hybrid electric drive propulsion system that is designed to help transit buses improve fuel economy. The propulsion systems — the HDS100, designed for the European bus market, the HDS200 , designed for standard North American non-articulated buses, and HDS300, created for 60-foot articulated buses.
BAE debuted HybriDrive in Daimler Orion hybrid city buses in New York City in 1998. The technology won the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority the Clean Air Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency a few years later. Meanwhile, Toronto, Ottawa, San Francisco and Houston adopted the technology on their transit systems.
In 2007, BAE introduced to the transit bus market a lighter, more efficient and longer lasting lithium-ion energy storage solution and a new, simpler, more capable and more reliable hybrid city bus power propulsion system adaptable to a wider range of bus models.
HybriDrive is now in transit buses all over the U.S. and the world, including those manufactured by Edinburgh, Scotland’s Alexander Dennis and Italy’s Iveco and powers nearly 4,000 buses worldwide today.
In the North American market, BAE Systems recently partnered with New Flyer Industries, Nova Bus and Gillig to equip their vehicles with HybriDrive.
New Flyer chose BAE Systems’ HybriDrive HDS300 propulsion system to power a fleet of new 60-foot, low-floor rapid transit buses for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif. The system will receive up to 29 articulated hybrid buses, with an option for up to 20 additional buses at a later date.
In April, Quebec received 475 Nova LFS electric buses equipped with HybriDrive, Series-E for the Association du Transport Urbain du Quebec.
The Series-E, in which the "E" stands for electrification, is a set of features that can accompany an HDS200 or HDS300 HybriDrive system. It uses regenerative braking, capturing energy during the braking of the bus, to electrically power accessories on a bus, including air conditioning, power steering, engine cooling fans and air compressors, Shelby Cohen, communications manager, BAE Systems, says.
A lithium-ion battery in the energy storage system delivers power during acceleration and accepts power during regenerative braking deceleration.
BAE evolved the technology over more than 20 years while developing the aircraft technology it is known for, considering factors such as fuel economy and environmental concerns. The company saw a possible application in the bus, heavy-duty truck and other niche markets as well as third-tier markets, such as generators and mobile bases for the armed forces and marine and light rail applications.