MCI to Build 52 Diesel-Hybrid Commuter Coaches for Houston METRO


mci_diesel-hybrid_bus (Source: MCI) Schaumburg, IL - Motor Coach Industries has been awarded a contract by Houston METRO to provide 52 diesel-electric hybrid coaches, with options for a total of 142 units to be delivered to the transit agency.

MCI was the first intercity coach manufacturer to launch a public-sector commuter hybrid electric-diesel coach in 2002, and its coaches for Houston METRO will introduce hybrid technology that offers even lower emissions and greater fuel efficiency.

"This marks yet another milestone for Houston METRO and MCI," said Michael Melaniphy, MCI vice president public sector. "Houston METRO is committed to cleaning up the environment and already has hybrid transit buses in operation, but this is the first time this agency will fully utilize the technology in its long-distance commuter application. We're honored to be part of the agency's solution to a cleaner tomorrow."

"Riding public transit is an important way to reduce air pollution," said Andrew Skabowski, Sr. Director of Operations Maintenance. "By selecting hybrid technology, it not only saves in fuel and maintenance costs, it helps METRO to do even more to make Houston's air cleaner."

Five years ago, MCI delivered four D4000 (40-foot) prototype hybrid commuter coaches to New Jersey Transit. Still in operation, those coaches use MCI's first-generation hybrid components with a Cummins/ISL engine and an Allison EP 50 electric-drive hybrid propulsion system.

MCI's next-generation diesel-electric hybrids feature the company's new-look D4500 (45-foot) model and use the latest low-emission clean-diesel engine technology from Cummins along with the Allison propulsion system. The engine and an advanced electric power management system offers performance that is comparable to a large diesel engine, but with improved fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions.

To further fuel conservation, Houston METRO's new MCI coaches will also use shore power at the depot to activate the AC unit and cool the passenger cabin prior to departure, eliminating the reliance on engine idling.

METRO's coaches will be equipped with wheelchair lifts; 55 forward-facing seats with individual overhead LED reading lights and airflow controls; and parcel racks.

MCI expects these greener coaches to be attractive to both transit agencies and private operators running sightseeing tours and long-distance commuter services. "MCI is the first OEM in North America to have over-the-road hybrid coaches in production. We've made a significant investment of capital and resources to offer a green-focused vehicle with MCI's proven reliability," said Melaniphy.

Image: Motor Coach Industries Int'l, Inc.

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