Hybrid Bus Hits The Streets of Baltimore

DesignLine USA, LLC, a leader in the design and manufacture of innovative hybrid and electric vehicles for the public transport market, announced that the first of 21 buses ordered by the City of Baltimore was unveiled today at a ceremony to mark a new era in the city’s public transit history.

The DesignLine EcoSaver IV bus introduced to Baltimore residents by Mayor Sheila Dixon features a unique proprietary hybrid propulsion system that, based on actual user experience:

  • Can operate in “zero-emission” mode on battery power up to 40 percent of the time;
  • Can reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 70 percent;
  • Can reduce fuel consumption up to 40 percent, and
  • Contributes to a ride that is at least 35 percent quieter than typical city buses

“We are proud to partner with Baltimore to provide a fuel-efficient, low-emission solution to the city’s public transportation needs, and we applaud Mayor Dixon for her leadership on efforts to build a better, greener Baltimore,” said Brad C. Glosson, chief executive of DesignLine International Holdings, LLC, the parent company of DesignLine USA. “With this kind of leadership at the local level, combined with the Obama administration’s strong commitment to investing in energy-efficient technologies, we see a tremendous opportunity for cities across the country to take similar steps that will reduce our nation’s carbon footprint while creating new jobs in green industries like ours.”

DesignLine is currently awaiting word from the Department of Energy on two federal grant applications designed to encourage the use of hybrid and electric buses and the development of green technologies. One under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would provide 50 percent matching funds to public and private agencies to purchase up to 286 buses; the grant would require DesignLine to hire 150 new employees this year and up to 300 over the life of the grant. The other grant would provide funding to DesignLine to ramp up U.S. production of the large lithium-ion batteries that are a critical component of its hybrid buses.

DesignLine began building buses in 1985 and in 2006 moved its global headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., where it opened a manufacturing facility last year. The company’s vehicles have received an enthusiastic reception from the nation’s largest public transit agencies not only because of DesignLine’s unrivaled hybrid propulsion system but also because of the vehicle’s structure and interior appointments, which provide a smooth, quiet ride and overall superior comfort for passengers.

“People love to ride our buses, and that’s important,” Glosson said. “We can have a positive impact on the environment by simply putting more efficient buses like the EcoSaver IV into service, but we can make a bigger difference if we can increase ridership of public transit, and to do that people have to really look forward to and enjoy the experience of riding the bus.”

DesignLine is scheduled to deliver the remaining buses in the city’s 21-unit order by fall 2009.

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