Oriskany, USA — Last week, Daimler Buses North America announced that sales for the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus had surpassed 3,000 units. In other words, Daimler Buses has sold more hybrid drives than any other manufacturer in the world. The announcement was made in Oriskany, where the Orion VII hybrid buses are manufactured. Over 2,200 of the Orion VII hybrid buses are already in service, with an additional 850 firm orders on the books from cities such as New York City, Seattle, Houston, and Ottawa, as well as from Puerto Rico.
“Daimler remains committed to leading the hybrid bus market worldwide, and our subsequent orders in North America is evidence of the confidence our customers have in our buses and coaches with alternative drives,” said Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses. “Being the leader is a responsibility that we take seriously and remain committed to delivering leading edge and reliable products for our customers.”
The transport company Houston Metro is placing an additional order for 80 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses for delivery in 2010. This year, another 40 buses will be delivered.
Another long-term customer of Daimler Buses North America is the mass transit authority of Puerto Rico, which is extending its existing fleet of conventional Orion diesel transit buses to include hybrid buses. The authority ordered 40 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses, which will be produced and delivered in 2010.
“We are obviously pleased to be the first manufacturer of hybrid buses to reach the 3,000 unit mark, but we will not rest on our laurels,” said Dr. Andreas Strecker, president and CEO of Daimler Buses North America. “The technology is advancing quickly, and it is very important for Daimler Buses to remain ahead of the curve in this industry.”
Orion began development and production of hybrid buses in the mid-1990s with pilot vehicles first deployed in New York City. While the Orion VII hybrid bus can be seen across North America, New York City is where you’ll find the most units in operation. There are already over 1,250 Orion VII hybrids in the New York metropolitan area. What’s more, another 425 units are to be delivered over the next nine months, making New York City Transit the largest hybrid fleet in the world.
Series production of the Orion VII began in the early 2000s, and Daimler Buses has since grown to become the world leader for hybrid buses. With the introduction of lithium-ion energy storage technology for buses in volume production in 2008, Orion further underlined its reputation for innovation. This development has reduced the weight of the overall bus and thereby further improving fuel economy. Daimler Buses is currently developing and testing further refinements to the hybrid system that will be introduced in 2010. These technological advancements will offer even greater benefits to our customers and passengers.
The heart of the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus is the HybriDrive propulsion system manufactured by BAE Systems of Johnson City, NY. The bus is powered by a 6.7-liter diesel engine from Cummins, a generator, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion energy storage system. The components are arranged in series and were optimized and configured especially for the Orion VII. The diesel engine, for example, is optimized to run at relatively constant speeds. Acceleration and deceleration are accomplished by varying the speed of the electric motor rather than the diesel engine. This results in maximum efficiency, fuel economy, and clean operation.
Another feature of the Orion VII hybrid is the regenerative braking system that uses the electric drive motor to slow the bus, effectively turning the motor into a powerful generator to help recharge the bus batteries. This feature saves energy and significantly reduces brake wear. The series hybrid design also eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, which means no transmission overhauls — a major maintenance item for conventional buses.