|January 31, 2014 -
The City of Knoxville is pleased to announce the delivery of three hybrid electric buses for the Knoxville Area Transit fleet. An additional three electric hybrid trolley-style vehicles will follow within the next few months.
These new buses will hit the streets within one to two weeks, after KAT operators and maintenance staff have been fully trained on the new technology. The vehicles are full-sized buses that will run on some of KAT's busier routes, including Kingston Pike, Broadway and Magnolia Avenue.
These clean diesel hybrid-electric vehicles will provide much greater fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs than conventional transit buses. These are KAT's first hybrid electric buses.
"These new efficient buses will further the City's sustainability goals and offer continued air quality improvements," says Mayor Madeline Rogero. "With KAT's new and better route frequencies we see more and more people leaving their cars at home and catching the bus. The hybrid vehicles even further improve the benefits of taking transit."
KAT's passenger counts have been climbing consistently since 2010, with the opening of Knoxville Station. In June of this year, KAT's 15-minute frequencies on routes such as Kingston Pike and Broadway have resulted in even higher ridership numbers. KAT anticipates that hybrid buses will be an additional attraction for potential transit users.
In an article in the February, 2009, issue of Automobile magazine, Steven Sherman writes about his experience with clean diesel hybrid-electric buses in Ann Arbor:
"...the hybrids are 30 percent more efficient, half of their extra cost will be offset by fuel savings. Maintenance costs are expected to drop by 30 to 50 percent, because the hybrid's regenerative braking doubles the life of the friction brakes and lowers the stress on suspension components. While it's impossible to assign a dollar value to clean air, the hybrids also provide emission reductions ranging from up to 50 percent for CO2 and NOx to 90 percent for carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter." (GREEN: The Ride: AATA Gillig Hybrid Electric Bus)
Hybrid electric/clean diesel vehicles are an expensive investment, at approximately $620,000 each. However, these buses were purchased through a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, which was 100 percent federally funded.