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Pittsburgh's Port Authority Introduces Hybrid-Electric Buses


June 20, 2005


The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh recently placed in service the first of six new energy-efficient hybrid-electric buses. With the exception of their GM hybrid propulsion systems, the new 40-foot low floor buses from Gillig Corporation are virtually identical to 225 Gillig buses recently purchased by Port Authority.

All six of the hybrid buses will operate out of the East Liberty Division, where they can be fueled with ultra-low-sulfur fuel.

"Although we have taken significant action to purchase and operate clean-burning diesel buses, we are committed to continuing this effort and are pleased to introduce the newest technology in clean-fueled buses to our customers," Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Paul P. Skoutelas said during a ceremony to mark the debut of the new vehicle.

The system has received federal grants and state Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to help fund the $3.5 million purchase of the new buses.

The hybrid-electric buses feature a smaller Cummins ISB diesel engine coupled to a GM Allison EP40 hybrid drive system, with power provided by both sources. This reduces diesel emissions while enhancing power and fuel efficiency. The buses also feature regenerative braking, which converts vehicle energy as the bus slows into electrical energy, stores it, and reuses it to accelerate the vehicle.

The Port Authority also has created a new exterior design for the hybrid buses: each will feature on its sides one of three pictograms extolling the virtues of electric power and cleaner air. The solution to the pictogram will be presented on the rear of each bus.

The purchase of hybrid-electric buses is the latest part of Port Authority's experience with alternative fuel buses. The authority began operating five buses fueled by compressed natural gas out of its West Mifflin Division in 1991.

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