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NYC Transit Bus Technology Programs
Updates on Bus Technology Programs and the Hybrid Propulsion Bus Proposal as found in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA's) New York City Transit Committee Agenda for the
Board of Directors.
Table of Contents:
October 1995 Update
from the November 1995 Agenda
Bus Manufacturer Qualification/Testing Program
Transit properties have been surveyed for their experiences with 40-foot buses
and articulated buses and over-the-road express buses. The structural
evaluations of the 40-foot Flexible Metro bus, the 60-foot New Flyer
Articulated bus and the MCI over-the-road bus have been completed.
50 Flexible 40-foot buses have been ordered and are scheduled to be delivered
in February 1996.
The structural evaluation of the New Flyer articulated bus indicated that 12
years of useful life can be achieved on bus routes such as M15, M104, Bx1 and
Bx2. Negotiations have recently been completed with New Flyer for the
purchase of 70 articulated buses. Anticipated delivery is 1st Quarter
NYC Transit conducted a demonstration of a New Flyer 40-foot low-floor bus
during June and July 1995. We are seeking a similar demonstration of a Nova
Bus 40-foot low-floor bus.
[And from the sole source procurement section of the Agenda I include this
parenthetical note: The 70 buses will cost $25,993,600 with the option of
purchasing 40 additional buses.
Given the fact that in excess of 85% of bus operating costs are the result of
bus operator wage hours, bus vehicle miles and the number of individual
vehicles required, substantial economies are achieved by converting selected
high volume (short headway) bus routes to articulated bus operation. The
utilization of 60-foot articulated buses as a substitute for 40-foot standard
buses in a 3:4 ratio in peak periods and a 4:5 ratio on off-peak periods will
reduce vehicle hours, vehicle miles and peak vehicle requirements with only
minimal impact in customer service.
The first phase of the New Bus Qualification Program included a review of
articulated buses manufactured by New Flyer Industries Limited, Neoplan USA
Corp and American Ikarus Inc. The performance review of the Neoplan buses
indicated severe corrosion and maintenance concerns. As a result of this
discovery, no further investigation/evaluation was conducted. Regarding the
American Ikarus Inc articulated bus, the performance review was conducted with
satisfactory results. American Ikarus Inc, however, declined to participate
in the program at this time. New Flyer's performance review was concluded
with satisfactory results and its bus was send to the Ortech Corporation test
facility for the structural analysis.
In addition to the New Bus Qualification Program, NYC Transit representatives
visited New Flyer's Winnipeg, Canada and Grand Forks, North Dakota a
facilities to further determine New Flyer's technical and manufacturing
capabilities. Based on these evaluations New Flyer was deemed qualified and
negotiations were initiated. --DC]
Compressed Natural Gas
NYC Transit began operating CNG buses on July 26 from Jackie Gleason Depot in
Brooklyn. On August 17, we removed from service all 12 of our Orion CNG
buses. This action was taken because the manufacturer of the CNG fuel
cylinders reported a safety defect that could allow gas to escape. The repair
of these cylinders reported a safety defect that could allow gas to escape.
The repair of these cylinders continued through September and delayed the
delivery of 19 remaining Orion CNG buses. Three RTS-model CNG buses were not
affected by this action. Delivery has now been completed and there i a total
of 34 CNG buses at Gleason Depot.
The CNG fuel station at Gleason Depot is operational, and a canopy was
installed in September. Safety modifications inside Gleason Depot have been
completed. Average fueling times are 10 to 15 minutes for the 1st and 2nd
bus, increasing to over 30 minutes unless the station is allowed to recharge.
Brooklyn Union has made the storage spheres operational, and is working to
improve fueling times.
Electric Hybrid Bus
The Phase I Orion standard floor test bus is fully operational and underwent
emissions testing at Environment Canada in Ottawa. Particulate matter (PM-10)
and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were reduced by 60% and 40% respectively. Fuel
economy was improved by 40% over a 6V-92 DDEC engine. Orion ins continuing
to build the Phase II low-floor-prototype bus. GE has indicated that it will
be operational by January 15, 1996.
The MTA has received an additional $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit
Administration (FTA). This money is being used to improve the design of four
key components, and will continue through July 1996.
Electric Hybrid Bus Retrofit
The MTA Board in March approved the concept of a project to develop the
capability to re-power existing buses with electric hybrid propulsion
systems. We are continuing to discuss the details of the cooperative [sic]
Battery Powered Bus Demonstration
The MTA Board in March 1995 approved a project to demonstrate 2 battery
powered buses in revenue service for two years as part of an existing
federally funded project. NYC Transit signed an agreement with the New York
Power Authority in August. The two buses are expected to be delivered in the
2nd Quarter 1996.
Computerized Brake Dynamometer
During the first Week of September, the BEM Muller computerized brake
dynamometer was installed at the Queens Village Depot. Seventeen NYC Transit
employees received Training on using the machine to test bus brakes.
Preliminary findings indicate that the dynamometer test results will correlate
well with traditional test results. Dynamometer based brake testing
procedures are being developed and evaluated over the next 12 months.
February 1996 Update
from the February 1996 Agenda
Hybrid Propulsion Bus Proposal
- In 1993, a consortium of MTA, Federal, State and private partners began a research project to develop a transit bus with a hybrid propulsion system.
- That project has yielded a successful prototype vehicle, to be field tested in the NYC environment.
- We must now take the next step - procurement of a fleet of production-ready vehicles suitable for the New York City environment.
Proposed Hybrid Propulsion Bus Project
- Contract Scope: Delivery of ten 40' buses with Hybrid Propulsion Systems
- Prime Contractor: General Electric Transportation Systems
- NovaBus (5 RTS standard buses)
- Orion (5 Orion VI low floor buses)
- Funding: Final contract price still in negotiation, not to exceed $20 million. One goal of negotiation is to recoup the NYCT investment. Current, unfinalized, outside cost share
- New York Power Authority: $4.7 m (Petroleum Overcharge)
- General Electric: $1.5 m (Cost Share Agreement)
- Orion: $1.0 m (Previous contract credit)
There are Currently Two New Bus Technologies Progressing at NYCT to Continue Efforst to Exceed Standards
- Hybrid Propulsion
- Consortium has developed and built a prototype bus (Orion VI low floor)
- Proposed project to produce 10 pilot buses for testing in revenue service
- Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Propulsion
- One depot (Jackie Gleason) outfitted with temporary fueling station and safety modifications
- Operating a program to test 34 buses in revenue service
- Planned purchase of 100 additional buses, contingent on a positive evaluation of the testing program
Hybrid Propulsion System Concept
- Wheels are powered by individual electric motors instead of the standard diesel engine connected to an axle through a drive shaft
- A small diesel engine and generator produces electricity to power the wheel motors
- The generator also sends energy to a battery pack for storage and later use during peak power needs (for example during acceleration)
- Braking energy can also be recaptured and store din the batter for later use
- This results in:
- a smaller engine operated at closer to optimal steady-state conditions
- total energy usage is reduced, lowering emissions and improving fuel economy
Potential Benefits of Hybrid Propulsion
- Lower emissions than advanced diesel technology alone
- Lower fuel costs than advanced diesel or CNG bus: $700-$2,800 per year per bus
- More efficient fueling operations than CNG
- Expected lower maintenance costs: less wear on engine and brakes and fewer mechanical components
- Ability to accommodate true low floor design: no wheel chair lift required, improves loading and reduces maintenance
- Minimal infrastructure investment required: potential capital cost savings of $12 million per depot
Compressed Natural Gas Trade-offs
While CNG buses have the lowest emissions of any bus currently in production, there are several downsides:
- Energy Inefficient
- 24% lower MPG than advanced diesel engines
- Large energy requirements to compress the gas into cylinders
- Costly Infrastructure Investments
- CNG fueling station: $4 m per depot
- Safety modifications: $8 m per depot
- Infrastructure investments (35-50 year useful life) are not wise for a bridge technology (10-20 years)
- Inefficient Fueling Operations
- Slower fill rate requires more fuel lanes and larger staff
Advantages of Proposed Procurement Method
- Builds on work of current hybrid propulsion consortium
- Prime contractor (GE) has financial stability and a prove ability to develop new products and to manage complex development projects
- Advancement of this next step may allow NYCT to purchase production buses beginning in 1999 and avoid further costly CNG investments while still meeting air quality goals
April 1996 Update
from the April 1996 Agenda
Bus Manufacturer Qualification/Testing Program
Structural qualification testing of the Motor Coach Industries (MCI) Over-The-Road express bus indicated that a 12 year useful life will be achieved. Procurement negotiations are underway with
Structural evaluation testing, on a shaker table, of a New Flyer low floor 40 foot bus is currently underway at ORTECH.
The first phase of structural evaluation testing of an Orion VI low floor bus has been completed and results are currently being reviewed.
Compressed Natural Gas
New York City Transit continued operating 34 CNG buses from the Jackie Gleason Depot in Brooklyn.
Orion Bus Industries began upgrading the fuel cylinder pressure relief devices (PRD's) because there was concern about leakage. We expect to be able to raise the maximum fill pressure from
2,000 to 3,000 psi, improving the range of the buses and allowing them to provide better service.
NYCT is proceeding with both the design modifications and Gleason Depot to accommodate 140 more CNG buses, and the design of the new Coliseum Depot to accommodate 150 CNG
buses. URS, a consultant with which NYCT has an indefinite quantities contract, is likely to study which depots in Manhattan would be most practical to site an additional 210 CNG buses.
The prototype Orion VI low floor electric hybrid bus by Orion and General Electric was displayed to the board, press, and public on February 27 and 28. The bus is scheduled for performance
testing at a test facility by the end of June.
Electric Hybrid Retrofit
In March 1995 the board approved the concept of a project to develop the capability to re-power existing buses with electric hybrid propulsion. In December, Delco won a $900,000 grant form the
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) for this project.
Battery Powered Bus Demonstration
Scope reduced to one bus for NYC Transit. ARPA and the New York Power Authority are our partners in this project.
Electric Hybrid Retrofit
from the June 1996 Agenda
This project will develop an electric hybrid propulsion system specifically for retrofitting existing RTS buses, of which NYC Transit has over 3,100, rather than for new bus manufacturing.
Electric hybrid technology offers NYC Transit the ability significantly reduce bus emissions at the time of General Overhaul (6yrs) or at a life extension rehabilitation (12yrs), when the diesel engine
is scheduled to be overhauled. Re-powering these buses with an electric hybrid propulsion system would significantly reduce overall fleet emissions, changing the highest emitters into the lowest.
Proposed Funding Sources:
|Allison Transmission || $1,546,000
|U.S. Dept. of Defense, ARPA || $1,150,000
|New York Power Authority || $440,000
|MTA || $675,000
|Total || $3,811,000
Under the terms of the proposed agreement with Allison Transmission, Delco Propulsion Systems will design, assemble and install an electric hybrid propulsion system into an RTS bus. After
being assembled, the bus will undergo ten months of comprehensive testing at General Motors and Allison Transmission facilities. Twenty-four months after inception of the project, and after
demonstrating that the bus meets performance specifications, it will be shipped to NYC Transit, where it will be operated and tested in revenue service for six months. Revenue testing will be
supported by Delco Propulsion Systems. The project will take 30 months to complete.
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Last updated: 4 April 1999