Hydraulic Hybrid Drive Adopted for Class 7 and 8 Buses and Trucks,
Colorado Company Prepares for Trials on a BMTC Tata Bus in India
Colorado’s Lightning Hybrids has been quietly testing a heavier version of its fuel-saving hydraulic hybrid driveline, suitable for Class 7 and Class 8 buses and trucks. Early installations include an 81-passenger Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner bus in Toronto and, with trials to begin this summer, a Tata BS III vehicle operated by BMTC, India’s Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp.
“Previous hydraulic hybrids available from the company are medium duty delivery trucks and shuttle buses,” Lightning says. “This new system moves Lightning Hybrids’ offerings into the heavy duty vehicles with other large bus and truck chassis options, such as Gillig and New Flyer, in the works.”
“Pilot systems have been in major international fleets since summer 2013,” Lightning says. “The fleets are pleased with reliability and efficiency results and are planning to purchase more of the hydraulic hybrid systems in the next quarter.”
Large Fuel-Saving Potential
Lightning’s not naming customers in North America but says that its dealer in India, TF Avionics Solutions, is preparing to install the Lightning hydraulic hybrid drive in a 12-meter (39 feet) bus manufactured by Tata Motors, to be tested by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp.
BMTC operates some 7,120 buses, says TFA’s Mahesh Kumar, and spends $90 million to $100 million per year on fuel. Fuel savings can amount to as much as 40%, he says, with greatly extended brake life (changes once in three years instead of twice annually) and less wear and tear on the engine.
Lightning technicians are to finalize the installation plans early next month and complete the conversion of the Tata BS III semi-low floor LPO 1618 vehicle with 5.9-liter Cummins engine in June.
Separately, Lightning Hybrids has named Dave Brosky, formerly of Bosch Rexroth, as sales VP. He is based in Detroit.
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Source: Lightning Hybrids with Fleets & Fuels follow-up