Troy-based Altair ProductDesign will soon unveil a transit bus that gets
double the gas mileage of current buses on the road — 6.9 m.p.g., to
Funded in part by grants from the Federal Transit Authority, the
Michigan Economic Development Corp., and Automation Alley (which
contributed $100,000), the Altair transit bus runs on a combination of
diesel fuel and hydraulics, which help power the vehicles’ constant
stop-and-go transitions. And, unlike hybrid bus technology, the Altair
bus doesn’t need additional equipment, like electric charging stations
or batteries, in order to run.
The 25,800-pound, 40-foot bus, which features 41 passenger seats and has
a 12-year road life, is 15 percent lighter than electric hybrids and 10
percent lighter than conventional buses, which also boosts fuel
economy, Heskitt said. The company estimates that the diesel/hydraulic
bus will lower bus costs by $170,000 per bus.
“Goals were set when this program started to produce a transit bus that
was more fuel efficient, more affordable and more cost effective to
operate for city transit authorities, and this project has both met and
exceeded those goals,” Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation
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