The National Academies

TCRP C-10B [Completed]

Hybrid Electric Transit Buses: Status, Benefits, and Issues

  Project Data
Funds: $44,585
Research Agency: Northeast Alternative Vehicle Consortium
Principal Investigator: Sheila Lynch
Effective Date: 6/28/1999
Completion Date: 2/15/2000

Hybrid-electric drive systems on transit buses are being aggressively investigated as a means of improving fuel economy, reducing emissions, and lowering maintenance and operating expenses. Several major federally-funded research and development projects are testing the viability of these drive systems on buses. In addition, a number of demonstrations are underway or have been recently completed by transit agencies. With the rapid pace of development and improvement of hybrid-electric drive technology, more transit agencies are being asked to evaluate the potential for hybrid-electric drive systems in their fleets. To assist transit managers in this evaluation, what is needed is an up-to-date description of the technology, its status, benefits, and issues associated with its full deployment.

The objective of this project was to prepare a report that provides the following: (1) definitions and descriptions of hybrid-electric drive systems, including definitions of all relevant terminology; (2) information about the status of current hybrid-electric transit bus research and development activities underway; (3) a description and status assessment of hybrid-electric transit bus demonstration programs planned or underway at transit systems around the country; (4) a discussion of the benefits of hybrid-electric technology (quantified where possible), including life-cycle cost benefits; (5) a discussion of the issues and risks associated with the deployment of hybrid-electric drive technology; and (6) a method that will enable a transit agency to compare the expected emissions levels and fuel economy of hybrid-electric transit buses with those of clean diesel and alternatively fuel buses.

Status: The final report has been published as TCRP Report No. 59, "Hybrid-Electric Transit Buses: Status, Issues, and Benefits".

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