Heavy Hybrid Vehicles Aid New Orleans Relief Effort
September 28, 2005
In a case of advanced technology to the rescue, heavy hybrid buses and trucks are helping to bring relief to the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina in early September. Heavy hybrid trucks are providing power to critical facilities and hybrid buses are transporting people displaced by the hurricane between shelters and other support centers.
The hybrid buses are temporarily on loan from GM to local officials to help transport hundreds of hurricane victims around Houston. These hybrids use up to 60 percent less fuel than a conventional urban transit bus — providing another form of relief in the face of storm-tightened fuel supplies and high fuel prices.
The GM demonstration buses use hybrid technologies originally developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Currently, these hybrid technologies are undergoing further performance and reliability improvements under the DOE's Advanced Heavy Hybrid Propulsion Systems Project (AHHPS), with technical guidance and testing assistance from the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The AHHPS project focuses on improving these vehicles by developing advanced heavy hybrid propulsion systems that are projected to (1) increase the fuel efficiency of trucks (Class 3–8) and buses by as much as 100 percent; and (2) improve emissions to meet or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's 2007–2010 emission standards. Researchers expect to overcome cost and durability challenges to make these heavy hybrid technologies cost-effective before the end of this decade. Overall, AHHPS-developed technologies are projected to save over two million barrels of oil per year by 2020, depending upon the rate of technology implementation and the impact of fuel cost on that rate.