GILLIG received the highest-ever score for a battery electric bus tested at Altoona, with a total score of 89.5, according to the company’s release.
The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Bus Test Program, conducted by the Larson Transportation Institute's Bus Research and Testing Center in Altoona, Pa., evaluates how well vehicles perform under conditions that simulate the rigorous duty cycles required of transit buses.
To be eligible for purchase with federal grant funding, such as the recently awarded $1.66 billion in FTA grants, all buses must demonstrate that they meet or exceed performance minimums. The comprehensive testing assesses key performance areas, such as maintainability, reliability, safety, structural integrity, noise, fuel economy, and emissions. The FTA introduced a 100-point scoring system in 2016 to better inform buyers by offering an unbiased, standardized assessment of vehicle durability, safety, and performance.
With an overall score of 89.5 out of 100, GILLIG's Battery Electric Bus far exceeds the Altoona minimum standards and passed all pass/fail performance tests, qualifying for purchase with federal funding. Performing beyond Altoona's requirements, GILLIG’s 40-foot bus scored exceptionally well in all evaluated categories and broke the previous highest records for reliability and safety performance.
Altoona evaluates reliability, in part, through measuring in a range of 0 to 125 hours of unscheduled maintenance throughout the testing process, with higher scores going to those with fewer required repairs. During more than 15,000 miles of testing, the GILLIG Battery Electric Bus required only 15.2 repair hours of unscheduled maintenance. Comparatively, other battery electric buses tested at Altoona over the last seven years have each needed, on average, 72.3 hours of repair time to complete their testing.
The GILLIG Battery Electric Bus received the highest score ever in the critical braking test, stopping, on average, over 30 feet — or over two car lengths — earlier than other manufacturers' comparable electric buses, the company reported.
"We talk a lot about 'quality without compromise' here at GILLIG," said Ben Grunat, VP, product planning and strategy, for GILLIG. "These scores demonstrate exactly what that means; our product being the safest and most reliable Zero Emission Bus on the market is not our goal. Rather, it's GILLIG's standard."