Photos by Joanne Tucker
Pictured is the HybriDrive System 200, which is for 40-ft. transit buses.
At the APTA Expo on Oct. 3, BAE Systems announced the production of an additional HybriDrive System, the HDS-300 — a sister engine to HDS-200 — that can run articulated buses up to 60 feet. Prior to this announcement, BAE didn’t offer a hybrid-electric propulsion system for this type of vehicle, which requires increased power that the HDS-200 couldn’t accommodate.
The announcement of the new system comes with upgrades in features for the HybriDrive systems, as well, such as an engine start-stop feature to reduce idle time.
Available in June 2012, the HDS-300 will also include new technology that supports full electrification of accessory systems, such as power steering, air conditioning and engine cooling.
In other features, Thomas Webb, BAE’s director of business development and platform solutions, says the system can also decrease idling, in which many larger agencies, he adds, are idling up to 50 percent of the time. Through an engine start-stop function — subject to OEM approval — fleets can expect to save another 10 percent in fuel costs on top of the savings gained through installing a hybrid system.
“It’s a complicated step because you have to work closely with the OEMs,” Webb says. BAE Systems has secured two orders, including Nova Bus and 52 units through New Flyer, which are heading to Santa Rosa, Calif., Massachusetts and several other agencies.
Other features in the new technology include a quieter ride, increased safety and less maintenance since HybriDrive ends the needs for belts, guards, alternators and starters because the vehicle accessories are powered electronically through a 28 volt DC power supply. And, because the system is able to save on the battery through the engine start-stop function, no large increase in battery storage was needed for the HDS-300, according to Webb.
Webb says that BAE Systems has continued in the hybrid-electric technology because of the battery expenses and battery lifecycles. But, he says, these new features in HybriDrive is “the next incremental step” toward that direction.