Few commuters or urban dwellers who rely on public transportation on a regular basis are eager to begin or end their day on a bus. Nevertheless, mass transit is and will be an important part of our nations huge transit and energy issues. To address this issue in Japan, Isuzu has teamed up with BAE Systems to test a new HybriDrive propulsion system to drastically reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
At the American Public Transportation Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, BAE Systems announced that ISUZU will install the HybriDrive system on two buses, evaluating their performance at ISUZU’s proving grounds and in passenger service. Initial testing earlier this year on an ERGA bus showed a more than 30 percent improvement in fuel economy in typical urban driving conditions. The HybriDrive technology is expected to reduce emissions and increases fuel economy while meeting the durability requirements of demanding urban transit operations. The system consists of a generator, an electric motor, and an energy storage system managed by computerized controls. The system also eliminates the mechanical transmission, a major maintenance item on traditional diesel buses. Ryouzou Tsukioka, director and senior executive officer at Isuzu, has stated that “Isuzu is pleased with the performance of BAE Systems’s hybrid technology, and we are convinced that it offers tremendous potential for our future in the hybrid bus market. BAE Systems-powered buses have great acceleration and power capability while providing a smooth and quiet ride.”
Currently, BAE Systems’ HybriDrive system is used in more than 1,500 buses that transport over a million passengers daily in cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Toronto. It is estimated that to date, these buses have accumulated more than 70 million miles, saved nearly 5 million gallons of diesel fuel, and prevented more than 50,000 tons of carbon emissions. The series hybrid system’s diesel engine can be made roughly 30% smaller than those used in conventional buses and maintains constant revolution regardless of vehicle speed. As a result, Isuzu’s bus delivers 30% better fuel economy than conventional diesel buses. The new system is also about 20% more fuel-efficient than the parallel hybrid system. Isuzu plans to initially employ the new hybrid system for large buses 9 meters or longer and mid-size buses 7-9 meters in length. Further down the road, it aims to also use the technology in small and mid-size trucks. Isuzu plans to offer public transportation authorities and other potential customers test rides on its series hybrid buses as early as next year.