February 7, 2008 A government report has shown that the new Orion buses in New York City cost 40% less to maintain and 24% less to operate than earlier-generation hybrids.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) evaluated the performance of New York’s second-generation Orion VII buses from February 2006 to January 2007. The buses studied were compared to the city’s first-generation Orion VII buses. The buses in the study incorporated several improvements to the hybrid electric propulsion system, in use in New York since 1998. Factors contributing to the performance improvements included a simplified cooling-system design, improved battery diagnostics, and better training of mechanics.

“The gains in operating and maintenance costs as referenced in the latest NREL report are a clear indication of the benefits of hybrid buses in public transit applications,” said Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer for Daimler Buses North America. “These results are proof positive for not only New York City but for all of our other customers that are operating Orion hybrid buses. Further, for cities looking to adopt hybrid buses, the NREL report provides excellent empirical data for their decision-making process.”

Powered by BAE Systems’ HybriDrive diesel-electric propulsion system, the Orion VII Next Generation transit buses from Daimler Buses North America offer lithium-ion energy storage. Lithium-ion technology is more efficient, lasts longer, and weighs less than the lead-acid batteries in use today. More than 1,000 Daimler buses with BAE Systems drive systems are in service in cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.