• DaimlerChrysler delivers California’s First Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency accepted the first of 56 diesel electric hybrid Orion VII low floor buses from DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses. The vehicle represents California’s first series production diesel-electric hybrid bus in transit service. After the official roll-out in fall 2006, San Francisco will feature the third largest hybrid bus fleet in the country.

The vehicle was welcomed into MUNI’s bus fleet today during a commemorative ceremony in front of City Hall this morning. Mayor Gavin Newsom, Andreas Renschler, DaimlerChrysler Board member responsible for Truck Group and Buses, and Nathaniel Ford, CEO of MUNI, were all in attendance to greet the clean air bus.

“I am pleased to see San Francisco taking the lead in introducing environmentally responsible transit service,” Mayor Gavin Newsom commented upon cutting the green ribbon.

The selection of new diesel-electric hybrid buses capped an effort that began with MUNI’s Alternative Fuel Pilot Program of 2001-2003. Thereafter, MUNI worked extensively with the California Air Resources Board to obtain changes in the regulations, unanimously adopted in 2006, that enabled the acquisition of these buses.

“This clean air bus will bring us one step closer to reaching our emis-sions-free 2020 deadline,” said Nathaniel Ford. “We are confident that adding these hybrid-electric buses to our fleet is a step in the right direction for our citizens’ health and our environment,” he added. “Many of our neighbors have already made the switch to hybrid vehicles, and it is time our transit system follow suit.”

The Orion VII hybrid bus, which is powered by BAE Systems’ HybriDrive® series propulsion technology, is proven to reduce emissions and is significantly more fuel efficient. With over 10,000,000 miles logged in highly demanding urban cities such as New York and Toronto, the Orion VII hybrid bus has demonstrated in an independent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to achieve up to 45 percent better fuel economy compared to conven-tional diesel buses. Additionally, the Orion VII greatly reduces emis-sions: 90 percent less particulate matter, 40 percent less NOx, and 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases.

"DaimlerChrysler is proud that its Orion VII hybrid bus is to be part of San Francisco’s push to reduce emissions," said Andreas Renschler, DaimlerChrysler Board member responsible for the Truck Group and Buses, "Environmental leadership is at the center of DaimlerChrysler’s business philosophy – and the Orion VII is just one example of our range of environmentally compatible solutions including hybrid, bio diesel, compressed natural gas and fuel cell vehicles."

The benefits extend to those driving and riding the buses as well. Drivers will enjoy faster acceleration while customers will experience a quieter, smoother ride free of the frequent transmission shifts encoun-tered in conventional buses. The 35-seat low floor buses allow for eas-ier access for all riders and can accommodate up to two wheelchairs.

After the delivery of the full order, electric-hybrid buses will comprise 11 percent of MUNI’s bus fleet. In conjunction with other buses such as trolleys, MUNI will then feature an electric fleet of well over 50 percent.

Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America combines three trusted commercial bus brands under one corporate structure: Orion transit buses, Setra motor-coaches, and the Dodge Sprinter shuttle bus. The division is backed by the advanced technological expertise and financial strength of DaimlerChrysler, the global leader in commercial vehicles. This backing provides the North American bus market with a powerful combination of product knowledge, resources, and service/ support systems.

A frontrunner in environmentally compatible mass transit, DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses teamed up with Johnson City (NY) based BAE Systems in 1997 to become the first to introduce clean diesel hybrid-electric technology to North America. The Orion buses are being produced in ISO-certified facilities in Oriskany (NY) and Mississauga (Ontario).

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