University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Enabling the Next Generation of Super Hybrid Transit Bus

PI: David Kittelson, Co-PIs: Will Northrop, Win Watts, Steven Taff (Applied Economics)

In collaboration with Metro Transit, BAE Systems, Cummins, New Flyer, Thermo King, AVL, and the Center for Transportation Studies three in-service Metro Transit buses are being evaluated to provide real-world estimates of bus energy consumption. The effect of climate, drive cycle, accessory electrification, and bus hybridization on vehicle fuel economy and engine emissions will be determined through this study. A series hybrid bus integrated with start-stop technology and the latest in accessory electrification is being tested against a parallel hybrid and standard diesel bus all featuring 2013 state-of-the-art diesel emissions systems.

These buses are equipped with data acquisitions systems monitoring over 90 parameters simultaneously every second. A cellular data connection is used to transmit the data every hour with key information streaming for real time monitoring. The in-service tests consist of routes with slow, medium, and fast average speeds, throughout the wide range of Minnesota’s climates allowing for a broad study of transit bus driving conditions.

Additionally, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is monitoring 20 extra buses as part of their fleet test program. The desired end result will be a detailed energy audit providing insight into the energy usage throughout the buses giving bus designers, manufacturers, and consumers with better recommendations for applications of the much sought after next generation super hybrid buses.