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SLEB/ZEB: LA Metro Pushes the Envelope

April 17, 2014 in money available, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Old Hybrids to Be Outfitted with NOx-Targeting Technology:
‘Open-Ended,’ Agency Says, ‘Our Stated Goal Is to Experiment’

LA Metro is seeking companies willing to convert six currently idle 42-foot low-floor buses with dated hybrid electric drives to SLEBs – Super Low Emission Buses. The agency is open to any and all suggestions that will allow it to reduce nitrous oxide emissions to the neighborhood of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower or lower – today’s limit is 0.20 grams per bhp.

LA Metro wants to outfit its six idled NABI-ISE hybrids with new drivelines to test technologies that can drive NOx emission to new lows.

LA Metro wants to outfit its six idled NABI-ISE hybrids with new drivelines to test technologies that can drive NOx emission to new lows.

“Our stated goal is to experiment with new technologies that can further reduce emissions,” says John Drayton, vehicle technology manager at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

From a technology point of view, “It’s open-ended,” he says, noting that the six 42-footNorth American Bus Industries vehicles with gasoline-fueled series hybrid drives by the now-defunct ISE were themselves experimental vehicles.

‘A Great Platform for a Small Firm’

LA Metro RFP OP33203278 calls for the six 42-foot NABIs to be brought back as SLEB demonstrators. The buses have relatively low mileage on them, Drayton says, ranging from approximately 25,000 to 50,000 miles.

“This is a great platform for a small firm to jump in and try different things,” he told F&F, noting that there may turn out to be multiple awards so that multiple approaches can be evaluated.

Technologies to be tested could include, Drayton suggests, microturbines to power the electric end of a hybrid bus, battery-dominant hybrid architectures, compressed natural gas, or even a pure battery drive for a zero emission bus – “ZEB is as welcome as SLEB,” Drayton says. He notes too that the buses have Maxwell ultracapacitors and Siemens motors, and that the parts could be used as the vehicles are brought back into service.

Price Is Not the Point

“We’re not solely concerned with price,” Drayton says. “We’re much more concerned about pushing the technology envelope.”

Don't you want to live with me?

Don’t you want to live with me?

“We want a vendor who is going to live with us and live with these buses for the next five years.”

LA Metro has slated a pre-bid SLEB conference for Wednesday, April 30. It will start at 10:00 a.m. in the Union Station Conference Room on the third floor of the Metro Gateway Plaza Building at One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles.

The agency Metro plans to set a day or two after the pre-bid conference to allow would-be vendors hands-on access to the buses before finalizing their proposals, which will be due on the afternoon of June 3.

LA Metro is conducting the SLEB procurement on behalf of ATVC, the Advanced Technical Vehicle Consortium, a joint venture with the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Funding is coming from the same $30 million ATVC allotment that’s covering the $20.7 million purchase of as many as 25 zero emission buses from BYD.

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Source: LA Metro with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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