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Mile-High MallRide’s CNG Hybrids

December 10, 2012 in CNG, Electric Drive, Fleet Order, Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Denver RTD’s TransTeq Fleet Exceeds 5 Million Miles
DesignLine Supplies Two New Buses with Options for 57

The fleet of 36 CNG hybrid buses operated by the Denver Regional Transportation District on the city’s downtown 16th Street Mall has logged more than 5 million miles, says RTD operations director Dean Shaklee.

Back and forth they go, every day on the downtown Denver Mall, CNG-fueled hybrid drive transportation, free to the public…

And, the TransTeq “Ecomark” vehicles have carried more than 200 million passengers since their initial, turn-of-the-century deployment, says Dale Hill, who founded TransTeq and in 2004 established Proterra for full battery electric buses.

After about five years of service, the TransTeq MallRide vehicles were fitted with equipment by Colorado’s UQM Technologies (NYSE:UQM; F&F, August 14, 2006).

The 45-foot vehicles travel a slow, flat route and, despite being able to carry 116 passengers, are powered by 70-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, Ford engines running at a constant 2200 rpm. After some experimentation with nickel metal hybrid batteries, RTD decided to stay with the vehicles’ original lead acid technology, Shaklee says.

Seriously Heavy Ridership

According to Hill, the 36 Denver MallRide buses carry about 65,000 people a day – 25% of the daily passengers carried by the 1,100-vehicle RTD fleet.

RTD earlier this year augmented the MallRide service with a pair of 45-foot, series hybrid electric DesignLine buses powered by Capstone turbines – diesel-fueled. “The base order is for two pilot buses with options to purchase up to 57 additional,” essentially replacing the existing fleet, says DesignLine VP Josh Anderson.

The DesignLine pilots are 45-foot, three-entry-door, fully low-floor vehicles with 15 seats and standee room for 72, carrying 87 total passengers. They have a separate operator’s compartment and right-hand drive for operation on the mall. The buses feature DesignLine’s all-aluminum body construction and a custom chassis incorporating independent front suspension and an offset rear axle for continuous walkthrough inside.

Denver RTD is testing two battery-dominant series hybrid electric buses from DesignLine, and has an option for 57 more.

They have DesignLine’s fourth-generation EcoSaver Range Extended Electric Vehicle drive: a battery dominant series hybrid. “DesignLine’s TwinDrive dual motor and inverter package is used,” Anderson told F&F, “along with 52 kilowatt-hours of stored energy in two lithium ion battery packs, and a Capstone C30 microturbine running on diesel.”

The turbine reduces emissions by 60% with no aftertreatment, Anderson says. “The bus operates on the mall in all-electric mode a substantial portion of the day, using the microturbine to recharge when necessary, and the buses can also be plugged in at night to extend all electric range.”

“The new DesignLine Mallbuses improve on and advance every aspect of the current fleet, and we hope to support the vibrancy of the mall for years to come,” he said. Anderson notes that he formerly worked with Dale Hill at TransTeq and that TransTeq, following Hill’s formation of Proterra, was acquired by DesignLine.

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Source: Fleets & Fuels reportage

Posted in CNG, Electric Drive, Fleet Order, Hybrids and tagged , , , , , .

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