Reporting Matt Roush
TROY (WWJ) – Troy-based Altair ProductDesign Wednesday unveiled the world’s first series hydraulic hybrid transit bus.
The LCO-140H (Low-Cost of Ownership-1st 40-foot Hybrid) was developed under the BUSolutions program in partnership with Automation Alley, in an effort to revitalize public bus transportation in America.
Compared to the database of buses tested at Altoona, Pa., where the Federal Transit Administration certification program is conducted, the LCO-140H fuel economy results are 110 percent better than conventional diesel buses and 30 percent better than the leading diesel-electric hybrid buses available today.
The LCO-140 achieved an industry high fuel economy of 6.9 mpg when tested using the downtown “stop-and-go” duty cycles and test protocol established by the FTA for transit bus certification testing.
BUSolutions is projected to lower the cost of ownership by $170,000 per bus as compared to a conventional diesel bus. With the average local transit authority operating approximately 300 buses, the savings could reduce a city’s cost of transit bus operation by approximately $50 million. When compared to an estimated $27 million increase in operational costs for a similar electric hybrid fleet, it is clear the LCO-140H could revolutionize the transit industry by providing reduced fuel consumption and emissions while improving the fiscal performance of a regional transit authority.
BUSolutions has been a collaborative effort between public and private entities to research, develop and commercialize advanced transit bus systems that are significantly more fuel efficient, have lower operating and maintenance costs, are competitively priced and can operate without updating the infrastructure of existing transit authorities.
In addition to investments by Altair and Automation Alley, BUSolutions has been funded by multiple federal and state programs including the FTA and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It also has received support from southeast Michigan congressional members, transportation industry partners, and local transit authorities SMART and the Detroit Department of Transportation.
“This project has been a collaborative effort from start to finish throughout the development, design and test phases. We would not have exceeded the goals we had set for ourselves had we not applied our knowledge and unique technologies to produce this revolutionary bus,” said Mike Heskitt, chief operating officer at Altair ProductDesign. “BUSolutions demonstrates Altair’s expertise and capabilities as a concept-to-release, full vehicle development partner.”
Added Ken Rogers, executive director at Automation Alley: “Goals were set when this program started to produce a transit bus that was more fuel-efficient, more affordable and more cost-effective to operate for city transit authorities, and this project has both met and exceeded those goals.”
Additionally, BUSolutions strategically partnered with regional and global manufacturers that assisted in incorporating state-of-the-art components and technologies from the transportation sector. Program sponsors include Parker and Meritor, which contributed significant driveline systems and knowledge. Various levels of support have been provided by PRAN, Sika Corp., Meritor Wabco, Alcoa Wheel Products, Carrier Corporation, LADD Industries, Haldex, Shaw Development, Tenneco, USSC Group, Cummins Bridgeway, Multicolor Specialties and Williams Controls.
Altair has worked closely with local transit authorities, SMART and DDOT, to ensure the newly designed bus platform will meet regulatory requirements and address the needs of bus drivers and riders. Altair also established the BUSolutions Advisory Board to offer insight into broader community needs, as well as perspective on actual ridership issues and public-interface ergonomics. As a result, Altair ProductDesign successfully engineered the bus to incorporate design principles that will enhance the rider experience.
The LCO-140H Bus will also be demonstrated at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo in New Orleans Oct. 3-5 at booth 2281.
Launched in 2005, the Altair BUSolutions program was established to develop and commercialize an advanced bus platform that lowers the total cost of ownership and environmental impact of commercial buses without updating the infrastructure of existing transit authorities. More at www.altairbusolutions.com.
Altair ProductDesign is a global, multi-disciplinary product development consultancy of more than 500 designers, engineers, scientists, and creative thinkers. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Altair Engineering Inc. (www.altair.com), this organization is best known for its leadership in combining its engineering expertise with computer aided engineering technology to deliver innovation and automate processes. More at www.altairproductdesign.com.