Daimler Buses North America has received orders for 1,052 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid transit buses from some of North America's largest transit authorities.

MTA New York City Transit has ordered 850 and the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) 202. These will be powered by BAE Systems' Hybri Drive diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system and delivered by 2010.

This series hybrid system is driven by a single electric motor that is powered by a diesel-driven generator and an energy storage unit.

Most of the vehicles will incorporate lithium-ion battery energy storage technology. The clean-diesel engine is smaller than that used in conventional buses and runs at nearly constant speed for clean operation and optimum efficiency.

To further boost efficiency, the vehicle has a "regenerative braking" system that uses the drive motor to slow the bus, effectively turning the motor into a generator that produces additional current to charge the energy storage system. The feature also reduces brake wear, reducing the need for brake maintenance.

Compared to standard diesel propulsion, these hybrid buses deliver up to 30% better fuel economy while greatly reducing emissions: 90% less particulate matter, 40% less NOx and 30% fewer greenhouse gases. Drivers and riders enjoy a quieter, cleaner and smoother ride.

With 1,100 diesel-electric hybrid transit buses already on the road, 460 pending deliveries and the announced new orders of almost 1,052 units, Daimler has now received over 2,600 orders since the launch of the Orion hybrid bus in 2003.

According to Daimler trucks division head Andreas Renschler, "In North America, where public-private partnerships create the right conditions, hybrid buses have proven to be an ideal solution for modern urban city transportation."

This order will bring the MTA's diesel-electric hybrid bus fleet to almost 1,700 units, making it the largest diesel-electric hybrid fleet in the world. With this order, Orion buses will account for almost 50% of New York City Transit's entire fleet.

The delivery of 202 vehicles by 2009 will make OC Transpo the third largest hybrid bus fleet in Canada.