Although I didn’t travel to the American Public Transportation Association Annual Meeting and Expo in New Orleans, a number of my Altair colleagues did along with the BUSolutions LCO-140H, the world’s first series hydraulic hybrid transit bus.
The BUSolutions team – Altair ProductDesign in partnership with southeast Michigan’s Automation Alley – has demonstrated that the LCO-140H (Low Cost of Ownership – 1st 40-foot Hybrid) achieves fuel economy results 110 percent better than those of conventional diesel buses and 30 percent better than the leading diesel-electric hybrid buses available today.
The LCO-140H uses a series hydraulic hybrid drivetrain to store braking energy and subsequently propel the vehicle. In proving-ground tests using Federal Transit Administration standards, the bus achieved an industry-high fuel economy of 6.9 mpg, compared with an average 3.3 mpg for conventional diesel buses and 5.3 mpg for the best electric hybrids tested.
Besides the hybrid powertrain, a significant contributor to the exceptional fuel savings of the LC0-140H is its lightweight all-aluminum body, designed and optimized using Altair’s HyperWorks tools. With a body structure about 30 percent lighter than a typical bus, the final total curb weight is 15 percent lower than electric hybrid buses and 10 percent lower than most non-hybrids.
Designing a bus with a novel powertrain and optimized weight are just two ways in which the LCO-140H meets the program’s primary goal: reduce the total cost of ownership. Overall, BUSolutions is projected to lower the cost for community transit authorities by $170,000 per bus compared with conventional buses, which could reduce a city’s cost of transit operations by some $50 million for its bus fleet. A team that achieves those kinds of savings deserves a trip to New Orleans!
For more on BUSolutions and its series hydraulic hybrid technology, check out the WIRED Autopia blog.
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