FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – The next generation of hybrid-electric public transit buses was unveiled on Day 2 of the Minnesota State Fair on Friday.

According to Metro Transit officials, two new hybrid-electric buses will operate on routes serving the heart of downtown Minneapolis and surrounding communities. They were funded by a $1.2 million federal grant and were built in-state.

The buses represent a first for the U.S. transit industry: systems on these buses – including the air compressor, heating and cooling and power steering – are run directly from the hybrid’s powerful battery, resulting in additional fuel savings and reduced emissions among other benefits.

The new buses also can operate in all-electric mode, providing whisper-quiet, emission-free travel for short durations – such as on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has given the busses high marks.

“Minnesota has a proud tradition of being on the cutting edge of innovation and implementing new technologies,” Klobuchar said. “These new hybrid buses are a shining example of new ways of doing business that are good for the economy and the environment.”

The buses have strong Minnesota connections. They were manufactured by New Flyer in St. Cloud. And many of the systems and components on the buses were manufactured by companies with a strong presence in Minnesota such as BAE, Thermo King and Cummins.

In 2002, Metro Transit became one of the earliest U.S. transit agencies to add a hybrid bus to its fleet. Today, the agency operates 97 hybrid-electric buses, which is about 11 percent of its fleet.

Click here for more information on Metro Transit’s new buses.


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