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Orion VII Hybrid Bus

Orion VII Hybrid Buses are rolling out across the U. S and Canada. Orion, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler has rolled out its diesel-electric hybrid buses New York, and further roll outs to cities like St. Louis, San Francisco and Toronto are in the works.



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By the end of 2005, New York will have the largest hybrid bus fleet anywhere in the world, numbering 325 units. San Francisco Municipal Railway has just ordered 56 Orion VII hybrids with an option for 56 more. In St. Louis, the Missouri Metro is putting an Orion hybrid bus through its paces with a fleet expected to hit the Show Me state in 2009.

The 40-foot low-floor, Orion VII hybrid buses offer a HybriDrive™ diesel-electric propulsion system by BAE Systems propelling the bus with a single electric motor that is powered by a diesel-driven generator and an energy storage unit. The Orion hybrid is equipped with a smaller, cleaner burning diesel engine that with quicker acceleration than other conventional diesel-only buses using a 5.9-liter, 260 hp (194 kW) Cummins ULSD (Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel) engine with a 120 kW traction generator. The high-torque traction motor delivers 250 hp (186 kW) and 2,700 lb-ft (3,657 Nm) of low-end torque yielding more than enough power for typical usage. Because the Orion hybrid bus has no transmission and uses regenerative braking to charge the batteries, this means lower maintenance costs on a whole (and quieter ride) including reducing brake wear by approximately one-third.

According to Hank McGlynn, vice president of Power Systems for BAE Systems , "Our hybrid propulsion technology leads the transit industry in combining cleaner emissions and reduced fuel consumption. This is a powerful combination for transit agencies seeking to both reduce fleet emissions and combat the escalating cost of diesel fuel." In fact, the Orion VII hybrid buses have improved fuel economy of more than 30% compared to conventionally powered buses. In addition, the Orion hybrids significantly reduce emissions with 90% less particulate matter, 40% fewer oxides of nitrogen, and 30% fewer greenhouse gases.

With many municipalities concerned about hitting their emissions targets, hybrid buses such as those offered Orion and GM Allison will help assure both cost savings and compliance with emissions standards. In years to come, people will look nostalgically towards the black soot-belching buses of old and know we are in a new, more breathable era for years to come.