Eight new hybrid buses will enter service for the Whatcom Transportation Authority on Monday, Feb. 4.
Compared to the 18-year-old diesel buses they replace, the new hybrid buses offer 40 percent greater fuel economy, a 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs, and a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to WTA. They also significantly reduce emissions of soot and oxides of nitrogen.
The bus purchase was funded in large part by grants from the Federal Transit Administration’s “State of Good Repair” initiative. Through this program, WTA was awarded $2.8 million in 2011 and $1.6 million in 2012.
Hybrid buses operate much like hybrid cars, using both electricity and diesel. Bus batteries store energy and recharge when the bus decelerates.
When demand for power exceeds battery capacity, the diesel engine provides energy.
In addition to the hybrid drive, buses are equipped with enhanced electrification measures, including an electronic (beltless) alternator and electric-powered cooling fans.
Riders should notice a quieter, smoother ride, according to WTA, as the hybrid buses never shift gears.
More information is available at www.ridewta.com/hybrid.