The RTC RIDE fleet includes two 40-foot hybrid diesel-electric buses. The hybrids went in service on RTC RIDE Route 1 in June 2007.
These are the first hybrid buses in the RTC RIDE fleet. They were made for RTC by Gillig, with a hybrid electric drive supplied by Allison Transmission, a division of General Motors. The 2007 model hybrid buses are the first Gillig/Allison hybrids manufactured that utilize the 2007 emission compliant engines. The Allison parallel system provides both a mechanical and an electrical path through the drive unit. As the bus accelerates from a stop, electric drive predominates. Mechanical gradually blends with electric until at highway speeds, the drive is purely mechanical.
The RTC will evaluate the performance of the hybrid buses over the next two years. If they prove to be cost effective RTC will purchase additional hybrid buses over the next several vehicle procurements.
The addition of hybrid diesel-electric buses to the RTC RIDE fleet is a significant step towards improving the quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. Hybrid buses help our environment by reducing emissions and reducing noise pollution.
For most transit systems, the reason hybrid bus technology is so appealing is that it helps overcome the most problematic part of transit service – stop-and-go traffic. Electric motors develop maximum torque at slow speeds and are ideally suited for frequent quick starts; the drive system recaptures normally lost braking energy converting it into electricity which is stored in the batteries.
These two buses meet and/or exceed the current 2007 EPA emission requirements for "on highway" transit buses. Complying with the strict 2007 EPA emission requirements has not been easy, and we are excited that we are able to provide quality, clean running buses in our community.
The new hybrids are replacing the aging Nova buses. During the next four years, RTC is scheduled to replace 47 RTC RIDE buses that will have reached the end of their useful life, defined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as 12 years or 500,000 miles. Each year, stricter air quality standards are imposed on conventional diesel engines requiring cleaner fuels and new engine technologies. As a result, RTC has been evaluating alternatives to conventional diesel buses and concluded that diesel hybrid electric buses are the best choice for moving to cleaner burning, fuel-efficient, and lower cost vehicles.