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Video – TriMet Hybrid Bus Debut Event

Back in July of 2010, we covered TriMet’s announcement of the purchase of hybrid buses to be evaluated on the Line #72 route.

TriMet has now received those four buses and held an event today to launch them into service. Here’s our video providing an overview of TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane’s remarks at today’s press conference, a look inside and around the bus, and a bit of direct Q&A.

Line #72 riders will be able to catch these buses officially starting tomorrow, January 31st.

Hybrid bus facts from TriMet’s flyer handed out today, after the break:

TriMet: State-of-the-art Hybrids

What’s new

  • Four new-generation hybrid buses
  • More economical and environmentally friendly to run
  • Less emissions, quieter and lower fuel consumption than standard diesel buses
  • Tires powered by electric motor with no mechanical link between the diesel engine and the vehicles movement
  • Features electrically powered components – requiring less maintenance and longer life-cycles than mechanically powered components, which lowers maintenance costs and improves vehicle uptime and availability

By the numbers

  • Estimated to be 20 to 50 percent more fuel efficient than standard diesel buses
  • Estimated 6 miles per gallon (standard diesel buses get about 4.4 mpg)
  • Estimated fuel savings a year: 2,200 gallons per bus
  • Estimated reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission: 95.5 percent a year
  • Estimated reduction in particulate emissions: 95 to 98 percent a year

Technical details

  • “Series” hybrid
  • Has both a diesel engine and an electric motor but the diesel engine has no mechanical link to vehicular locomotion (making the tires spin)
  • Diesel engine feeds a generator, which in turn provides power to batteries that supply the electric motor; electric motor provides locomotion, making the bus move
  • Similar in architect technology to Chevy Volt or Fisker Karma
  • Smaller diesel engine; operates at its most optimum RPM (revolutions per minute)

Additional attributes:

  • Same capacity for load (39 seats), drivability and range as TriMet’s new 3000 series buses
  • Feature electronic cooling system – originally developed for the military, used in NASCAR and pioneered by TriMet in the transit industry. Reduces the load of auxiliary systems on the engine, improving fuel efficiency by five to 10 percent
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology further scrubs the nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission from the exhaust
  • Regenerative braking sends energy to the batteries as bus slows while braking
  • Completely assembled in the US (Gillig facilities in Hayward, CA)
  • Roughly 60 percent of parts are US made (remainder produced in Europe)


  • $3,125,000: Total project cost
  • $2.5 million: Clean Fuels Grant from the Federal Transit Administration
  • $625,000: TriMet 20% match (required)
  • $664,096: cost per hybrid bus (standard diesel bus: $407,768)
  • Balance of funds – replacement parts, inspections, training, warranties
  • Clean Fuels Grants support emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses and markets for those technologies

Rider features

  • Low floor, vinyl seats, larger windows, brighter LED lighting, lighter interior color scheme, air conditioning
  • Longer, more gradual sloped boarding ramp for riders using mobility devices; counterbalanced for easier deployment and retraction


  • 42 ft. long; 8.5 ft. wide, minus the mirrors; 11.5 ft. tall (majority of standard TriMet buses are 40.8 ft. long, 8.5 ft. wide and 10.5 ft. tall)
  • 31,080 pounds (15 tons) empty (majority of standard TriMet buses weigh 28,320 pounds (14 tons))