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Two hybrid buses are here in town

Two hybrid buses are here in town

A hybrid New Flyer articulated bus (left) and a hybrid Nova bus (right) are in town for evaluations right now.
A hybrid New Flyer articulated bus (left) and a hybrid Nova bus (right) are in town for evaluations right now. Photos by David Lam.

We’ve got two diesel-electric hybrid buses in town right now!

The Province wrote about the Nova hybrid bus about a week ago, but we actually have an articulated hybrid bus from New Flyer around too.

The Nova is a “pilot” bus — it’s still the property of Nova and it’s here for evaluation. Our staff is currently examining it from top to bottom to identify any issues, and then the bus will be sent back to Montreal so Nova can correct them for the rest of our order. (We have 141 Nova hybrids coming in this year!)

The hybrid New Flyer articulated bus is also undergoing some evaluation. The bus is still the property of New Flyer, who is correcting some issues on the bus before presenting it to us for acceptance. In the coming weeks, we’ll get about two to three articulated hybrids a week until we reach our full order of 39.

All this adds up to 180 hybrid buses arriving this year in total. The 39 New Flyer hybrids will be in service by September 2009. Eighteen of these buses will expand the fleet, and 21 will replace the high-floor articulated buses.

The 141 Nova hybrids will be in service by December 2009. As the Province article talked about, 109 of these buses will replace older vehicles, and 32 will expand the fleet.

Plus, let me repeat a few fun facts about the hybrids, which you may have seen in the Earth Day post:

  • The diesel-electric hybrids will save between 15-20% on fuel consumption, meaning they’re sending out about 15-20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the air.
  • As well, when we compare the hybrids to the buses they are replacing, the particulate matter levels (the smoke they send out) will be reduced by 90-100%.
  • The transmission of the hybrid buses also means a smoother ride with no more jerky gear changes. For those who care, here’s the specifics on that: the hybrid transmission has electric motors in place of the clutches that would be in a normal transmission, and the electric motors are capable of creating any gearing ratio, meaning that the hybrid transmission is a CVT (continuously variable transmission) which never actually shifts gears. No gears to shift means no clutches to wear, and no jerky gear changes for passengers!

And mad props to David Lam from the Trans-Vancouver bus photo site, who scooped EVERYONE with the photos you see above. I think he managed to snap the buses about three weeks ago! Check out his galleries to see more photos of the New Flyer hybrid and for the Nova hybrid.