Sun Tran running a new hybrid bus
Contributed photo, Sun Tran's new hybrid bus displays earthy colors.

Special to The Explorer

A new hybrid bus has been introduced in greater Tucson by the city of Tucson and Sun Tran.

The bus is "branded with an earth-friendly message, reminding residents of Sun Tran's commitment to our environment," a release said.

Hybrid electric technology combines the internal combustion engine of a conventional vehicle with the battery and electric motor of an electric vehicle. The combination offers "low emissions, with the power, range and convenient fueling of conventional fuel powered vehicles," it continued.

The hybrid bus uses a 600-volt battery pack, which is recharged while the bus is coasting and braking. When the brakes are applied, the regenerative braking system captures energy expelled as heat and sends it to the battery pack.

The engine "delivers better acceleration than a bus equipped with a conventional diesel engine, and the hybrid system computer determines which mode of power is most efficient to move the bus," it continued. "When accelerating, the bus uses 100 percent electric power from zero to 17 miles per hour, a combination of biodiesel and electric power from 17 to 40 miles power, and all biodiesel power above 40 miles per hour." Its fuel efficiency is up to 60 percent better when compared to a bus with a conventional diesel engine.

Hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions are reduced, lowering particulate emissions by up to 90 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 50 percent.

"The message on the bus, 'We have a care in the world,' depicts our continued efforts to use fuels that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lessen the negative impacts on our environment," said Katrina Heineking, general manager of Sun Tran. "We encourage our community to support these efforts by riding public transportation."

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