The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's New York City Transit has rolled out a turbine-powered DesignLine hybrid-electric low-floor bus, the first of an eight-bus order set for a 90-day evaluation. The small bus order is part of the agency's ongoing effort to examine new technology that will help reduce emissions and provide more economical and environmentally friendly service.
The key feature of the DesignLine bus is a diesel turbine engine, replacing the diesel piston engine that powers the majority of buses in NYC Transit's 4,600-bus fleet. The turbine produces AC power, which in turn charges the battery that then powers the motor that drives the wheels. In addition, like the rest of the hybrid fleet, the new bus has regenerative braking, which recharges the batteries each time the bus operator makes a brake application.
Other features include an efficient and long-lasting interior LED lighting system, a contactless sensor system for air assist rear exit doors, a flip-out ramp for wheelchairs by the front entrance and disc brakes at all wheels.
The DesignLine buses, which have a capacity of either 35 or 37 seats, depending on the configuration, with 30 standees, are anticipated to have significantly reduced maintenance costs, and include a 12-year warranty on the turbine engine and lithium-ion battery pack, eliminating the need for midlife replacement. They also do not require oil changes.
A similar 35-foot long bus was successfully operated in Manhattan and Queens for a 30-day period back in the fall of 2007. This current evaluation is the second-phase test of a greater number of buses, built to NYC Transit specifications. Structural testing is currently under way as part of the New Bus Qualification program as well as in-service testing.
Upon completion of this test period, NYC Transit will make recommendations to the manufacturer as to what features we would like to see improved or modified. The base order for these buses is 30 with an option to purchase 60 additional buses, if test results are positive.