28 December 1998

General Motors Corporation announced it plans to develop a hybrid diesel-electric transit bus. GM will deliver a test hybrid bus to New York City's transit system next year. GM's Allison Transmission Division plans to begin making more such vehicles with its bus making partners in 2000.

Automakers are coming under increasing pressure from regulatory agencies to develop less polluting engines and powertrains. Hybrid diesel-electric buses have the potential of running much cleaner than conventional diesels or natural gas engines. Hybrid electric buses are also characterized by unsurpassed fuel economy. They are designed to recover a significant part of the vehicle's braking energy. As a result, a urban diesel-electric bus can use up to 40% less fuel than a conventional diesel bus.

GM said it would concentrate their hybrid electric vehicle development on markets for buses, garbage trucks and postal vehicles. These commercial vehicles provide stronger profits than passenger cars. GM has sold just over 500 units of its electric EV-1 car which was introduced in December 1996.