June 23, 2010

Azure Dynamics to supply hybrid-electric buses to King County paratransit fleet


The Azure Dynamic Balance Hybrid Electric product improves fuel economy by up to 40 percent and reduces maintenance costs by up to 30 percent, according to company officials.


Azure Dynamics Corp., manufacturer of hybrid-electric and electric power train technology for the commercial truck and bus market, received an order for 24 Balance Hybrid Electric buses that will be used for the King County, Wash.-based Access Transportation services fleet.

King County was able to award this contract with the support of FTA stimulus funds aimed at providing fuel efficient and environmentally friendly transportation solutions. Under a competitive bid process the contract was awarded to EK Coaches, the dealership of record, for the Azure Balance Hybrid Electric drivetrain on a Ford E450 chassis.

StarTrans Bus, a Supreme Corp. company, provided the 22-foot shuttle bus bodies with a capacity of up to 12 seated passengers plus two wheelchair positions.

The vehicles are expected to be delivered later this year. King County placed the 24-unit order through EK Coaches, Inc. in Mukilteo, Wash.

“As environmental awareness grows and vehicle operating costs continue to escalate, we’re seeing strongly increased demand for our products from local governments and municipalities all across the country,” said Jay Sandler, VP of sales at Azure. “Our Balance Hybrid Electric product specifically addresses those issues so we expect demand to continue to grow.”

The Balance Hybrid Electric product has a demonstrable economic payback independent of outside incentives. Since commercial vehicle fleets spend approximately 50 percent of their total operational costs in fuel, the Balance Hybrid Electric’s ability to improve economy by up to 40 percent provides an enormous impact, according to a company statement.

Additionally, this hybrid-electric vehicle reduces maintenance cost by up to 30 percent while typically improving vehicle “up-time” and therefore providing added opportunity to produce revenue for the end-user, said company officials. King County’s adoption of the environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles will also reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 30 percent.

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