Citilink To Unveil New Hybrid Retrofit Transit Bus

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Press Release from Citilink:

On Thursday, September 25th, Citilink, Variable Torque Motors and the Richard G. Lugar Community Service Center will debut a demonstration hybrid retrofit transit bus. This local collaboration will assess the benefits of a hybrid retrofit drive in a small transit bus application. Anticipated benefits include, but are not limited to: increased fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, improved brake performance, low voltage/light weight ultra capacitor, ease of use/installation and transferability of product.

The hybrid retrofit system works by attaching a motor/generator to the drive shaft and linking it to ultracapacitors mounted under the vehicle. The motor provides an electric boost during acceleration – with significant saving on fuel and emissions anticipated. The system provides regenerative braking as the vehicle decelerates; storing energy in the ultra-capacitors and should extend brake life. The most attractive feature may be its adaptability. Because it is designed to compliment stock equipment the retrofit is minimal and the vehicle drives normally.

“I congratulate Citilink on its first hybrid retrofit bus. Our nation’s transportation system and
infrastructure are closely linked with our energy situation, and hybrid technology is an example of the innovation needed to reduce our dependency on foreign oil,” said Lugar.

Betsy Kachmar, Asst. General Manager of Citilink, expressed excitement about the opportunity to partner with a local company and test the viability of a product that could be valuable to the transit community. “We foresee great interest as we share the word about this innovative product with our peers. The lower voltage of this unit is an added safety feature for our mechanics, drivers and passengers.” The VTM system operates on 60-94 Volt AC/DC ultra capacitor. Hybrid cars and other transit hybrids use 200-500 Volt batteries – over 60 is considered “high voltage.”

Larry Zepp added that “Citilink’s participation will provide independent data that will add credibility to the product and improve marketability within the industry.” Citilink will help develop installation instructions so that transit systems can perform the retrofit in-house, thus improving the affordability of this already relatively low-cost retrofit (approx. $30,000/unit). An added benefit is that these units may be transferred should the retrofit outlast the vehicle.

Public transit is an excellent application for hybrid technology. The start/stop nature of urban passenger transport is ideal for regenerative motors and maximizes the fuel & environmental benefits of hybrid electrical assist technology.

This project compliments a recent discretionary grant received by Citilink to pay for 80% of the cost of hybrid technology on two full size fixed route buses that will be purchased next year. This grant is a result of Senator Lugar’s initiative to support hybrid bus technology & alternative fuels for all Indiana transit systems.

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