ECU Drives Take Hybrid Bus Out for A Spin
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
ECU bus drivers had a chance to test-drive a hybrid bus Oct. 18 and 19. The 40-foot bus, manufactured by New Flyer, was equipped with a GM Allison Hybrid System, which blends electric power with conventional diesel fuel.
Wood Davidson, general manager for ECU Student Transit, said he appreciated the cleaner emissions and improved fuel economy, but wasn’t sure about the $460,000 price tag for the bus. “The cost for the new technology is nearly double that of one diesel bus,” he said.
Student Transit is “committed to being environmentally responsible and to researching, testing, and hopefully implementing clean air technology, such as this GM Allison Hybrid System,” Davidson said. In addition to the improved emissions and fuel economy (from four miles per gallon to six or seven mpg), the bus offers regenerative braking, enhanced acceleration and enhanced passenger comfort.
Davidson is exploring funding options, such as grants, that might enable ECU to add a hybrid bus to its fleet. (Photo by Erica Plouffe Lazure)