In an industry first, the city councils of the Santa Monica, Calif. and Phoenix, Ariz., approved the award of heavy-duty transit buses with fiberglass composite bodies. Santa Monica ordered 37 forty-foot low-floor, LNG powered North American Bus Industries CompoBuses, and Phoenix selected ten 45-foot low-floor, LNG powered CompoBuses. The contract values are approximately $ 20.6 million and $ 3.4 million, respectively, a NABI statement said. Options for additional buses are also available to the two cities, which may be exercised at a later date.
"These two progressive cities and their bus operating entities have taken a leadership role by incorporating the benefits of the combination of high strength, lightweight composite body structure and LNG alternative fuel," said Bill Coryell, NABI’s vice president of sales. "Together, these features will significantly reduce emissions, fuel consumption, while increasing brake lining and tire life."
Because of the composite material, the reduction in weight is up to 7,000 pounds compared to metal buses, Coryell said. The significant operating cost savings are also compounded by the elimination of rust and corrosion that are problems with steel structures.
Perhaps more importantly, Coryell added, this significant weight reduction also enables the derivation of a 45-foot CompoBus, which will have lower axle loadings than its 40-foot metal counterparts. Such 45-foot models will seat up to 48 passengers, and will thus increase productivity by 20%, the company estimated.