DesignLine rates high in Charlotte
Charlotte Douglas International Airport enjoys the benefits of the Enhanced Electric bus
Earlier this year, DesignLine Corporation, Charlotte, NC, announced the results of a multi-year, in-service fuel economy and reliability evaluation of its Enhanced Electric bus. Over the course of three years, the DesignLine buses operated by the Charlotte Douglas International Airport showed increases in fuel economy of up to 41 percent and maintenance cost reductions up to 93 percent when compared to the airport’s traditional diesel buses.
According to the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Division, in addition to the fuel and maintenance savings, the Charlotte Airport buses reduced NOx emissions by 42 percent and CO emissions by 38 percent during daily operations.
“We have long envisioned an environmentally friendly mode of passenger transportation that is more efficient and cheaper to operate than traditional diesel buses,” says Charlotte Douglas International Airport Director Jerry Orr. “We have identified the unique electric drive system developed by DesignLine as an opportunity to help achieve these goals. The operating data captured over the last three years validates our efforts.”
DesignLine says it is easy to excel in pristine laboratory or controlled demonstration settings, but the proof of product superiority comes in real world service.
DesignLine delivered its Enhanced Electric Vehicles to the Charlotte Airport in early 2007 and immediately placed them into daily operations. The airport now operates seven of the DesignLine Enhanced Electric Vehicles in its fleet, with more scheduled for delivery.
“DesignLine would like to acknowledge the commitment of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and its Director, Jerry Orr, to implementing green technologies,” stated Brad Glosson, CEO of DesignLine Corporation. “From our first meeting, Mr. Orr made it clear that the airport required vehicles that were cleaner, greener and cheaper to operate than the existing fleet.”
Glosson says the results of this multi-year evaluation validates DesignLine’s 15-year commitment to research and development, and makes the company a leader in all objective measures used to gauge electric and hybrid vehicle performance.
DesignLine says while the increased reliability for Charlotte Airport stands as a hallmark for its electric vehicles, it also has seen similar results in some of the harshest operating environments in the world.
“DesignLine electric buses excelled in daily service, overcoming ambient temperatures in excess of 125 degrees, high humidity and sand intrusion endemic to the Middle East region,” says Duncan Peat, managing director of Liberty Automotive in the United Arab Emirates. “No other electric vehicle has been able to provide continuous, daily service in our extreme operating conditions.”
DesignLine says the Enhanced Electric Bus, a pure electric vehicle with an on-board range extender used solely to recharge batteries throughout the day, is unique in the transit industry.
UAE joint venture promotes U.S. jobs
Earlier this year, DesignLine announced its $30 million joint venture with Liberty Automotive to open a DesignLine UAE production facility in Abu Dhabi, which opens later this year. The plan is to build up to 300 buses annually with a projected revenue for its first year in excess of $80 million.
With the joint venture and increased requests for 30-, 35- and 40-foot hybrid/electric buses, DesignLine expects the resulting employment opportunities at its manufacturing facility to more than double its current workforce in Charlotte, NC and in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Impact of these sustainable jobs is significant throughout the Mecklenburg region of North Carolina and the Canterbury region of New Zealand. DesignLine says both locations are focusing on adding high-tech, full-time positions within the rapidly expanding clean energy sector.
The new DesignLine UAE facility will specialize in zero emission all-electric buses, with DesignLine USA and DesignLine R&D NZ providing the proprietary software vehicle management system. DesignLine says its hybrid vehicles produce 65 to 80 percent less emissions than similar buses. Using a Capstone turbine generator, available in a 65kW or 30kW size, in conjunction with its proprietary software and hybrid control system, DesignLine says the vehicle is able to operate in a zero emission mode for up to 40 percent of the day.
Renown as the world leader in the application of green technology, the United Arab Emirates enters its second year of utilizing the zero emission DesignLine All-Electric buses. Other Middle Eastern countries are actively negotiating with DesignLine to convert their diesel transit fleets to either all electric or hybrid vehicles.
While the hybrid buses are currently predominant in North America and electric buses in the Middle East, the ever increasing hybrid/electric market requests span from North America to the Middle East. BR
The company says it is projecting to build in excess of 300 hybrid and electric buses over the next 24 months.