First hydraulic hybrid transit bus unveiled amid hype

Troy, MI is referred to as “The City of Tomorrow, Today.” On Wednesday, that modern theme continued with the unveiling of what’s being called the world’s first series hydraulic hybrid transit bus. The LCO-140H, which stands for Low-Cost of Ownership-1st 40-foot Hybrid, was conceived by Altair ProductDesign,  a product development wing and wholly-owned subsidiary of Troy-based Altair Engineering, Inc.

The vehicle was developed under the BUSolutions program, which was established to lower the total cost of ownership and environmental impact of commercial buses. The BUSolutions program is in partnership with Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association.

Altair hopes the LCO-140H could revolutionize the transit industry by providing reduced fuel consumption and emissions while improving the fiscal performance of a regional transit authority.

The LCO-140H will have to live up to the grandiose hype. Altair claims the vehicle’s fuel economy results are 110 percent better than conventional diesel buses and 30 percent better than the leading diesel-electric hybrid buses available today. Also, Altair claims the LCO-140 achieved an industry high fuel economy of 6.9 mpg when tested using the downtown “stop-and-go” duty cycles and test protocol established by the Federal Transit Administration for transit bus certification testing.

BUSolutions is projected to lower the cost of ownership by $170,000 per bus as compared to a conventional diesel bus. With the average local transit authority operating approximately 300 buses, the savings could reduce a city’s cost of transit bus operation by approximately $50 million.

“This project has been a collaborative effort from start to finish throughout the development, design and test phases,” said Mike Heskitt, chief operating officer at Altair ProductDesign. “We would not have exceeded the goals we had set for ourselves had we not applied our knowledge and unique technologies to produce this revolutionary bus. BUSolutions demonstrates Altair’s expertise and capabilities as a concept-to-release, full vehicle development partner.”

“Goals were set when this program started to produce a transit bus that was more fuel efficient, more affordable and more cost effective to operate for city transit authorities, and this project has both met and exceeded those goals,” said Ken Rogers, executive director at Automation Alley.

Attendees at next month’s APTA Expo in New Orleans will be able to see a live demonstration of the LCO-140H Bus.

— Glenn Swain

3 Responses to “First hydraulic hybrid transit bus unveiled amid hype”


    Like the electric hybrid system, there are also series hydraulic hybrid and parallel hydraulic hybrid.

    In a parallel hydraulic hybrid vehicles, the pump/motor connects to the driveshafts through a transmission box. The role of pump/motor is to provide assistance to the engine during acceleration.

    In a series hydraulic hybrid vehicle, the pump/motor directly connects to the driveshaft, or the in-wheel motors provide driving torque directly to the wheel. The engine is forced to operate in medium to high load regions, where the efficiency of the engine is highest.

    In some cases Hydraulic hybrid systems may be more cost-effective than electrical hybrid system because no complicated or expensive materials (such as those required for batteries) are used.

    Technical challenges with hydraulic hybrid vehicles include noise, size, and complexity.