Seattle Transit Agency Goes Hybrid

King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Wash. has selected BAE Systems’ HybriDrive Series-E electric drive system to power 120 New Flyer Xcelsior buses.

This is the largest order to date of BAE’s HybriDrive Series-E propulsion system, which enables electric drive modes to eliminate emissions from the vehicle and to reduce engine idling.

BAE said HybriDrive Series-E can advance transit agencies toward all-electric buses, making silent operation of the vehicle possible and challenging fuel alternatives like diesel and compressed natural gas with its clean, efficient functions. Still per BAE, the electric drive not only reduces noise in and around bus stops, but it represents a greater impact on environmental sustainability for the communities in which it operates.

“HybriDrive Series-E is categorized as hybrid drive system, but the fact is, it powers a bus completely electrically,” said Steve Trichka, vice president and general manager of HybriDrive Solutions for BAE Systems. “Power from the on-board generator is either stored in the batteries or drawn to run the electric traction motor and the drive train. The technology provides our customers with a path to an all-electric vehicle. ”

BAE said its HybriDrive Series propulsion system powers nearly 4,000 buses worldwide today.

According to BAE, buses equipped with the HybriDrive system have traveled more than 600 million miles, prevented more than 520,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and saved more than 38 million gallons of diesel fuel.

“With these new buses, King County takes another step towards improving the environmental sustainability of our region,” said Kevin Desmond, general manager of King County Metro Transit. “The buses will be delivered with advanced electrically controlled programming that turns the engine off at bus stops and depots. In addition, the vehicles will have all electrically driven components that use the vehicle’s electric energy instead of power from the diesel engine.”

The development and production of these hybrid propulsion systems will be conducted at BAE Systems’ Endicott, New York facility, with the first customer delivery scheduled for 2014.