Down the Mississippi to New Orleans

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.

Tony Norton
Tony Norton

About Tony Norton

Tony leads the Americas based Altair ProductDesign teams in the delivery of early concept (industrial design, design exploration, testing & prototyping) and advanced simulation driven design (cutting-edge modeling, optimization, methods development & automation) to our customers. Before joining Altair UK in 1996, he worked at both Ford Motor Company and GEC-Marconi Avionics. He moved to Michigan in 1999 to join Altair US, and holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Hertfordshire in England.