New York City Orders 850 Hybrid Buses, Switches to Hybrid Cabs

December 19, 2007

The streets of New York City will soon feature many more hybrid vehicles, as the city's buses and taxis shift to the fuel-saving technology. On December 17th, Orion Bus announced that the city has ordered 850 diesel-electric hybrid transit buses for use by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Bus Company and MTA New York City Transit. When delivered to the city in early 2010, the buses will make the MTA's diesel-electric hybrid bus fleet the largest in the world, with nearly 1,700 hybrid buses. The buses will be powered by a hybrid drive system developed by BAE Systems and incorporating lithium-ion batteries, achieving a fuel economy improvement of as much as 30% relative to standard diesel buses. The buses will also produce only 10% of the particulate emissions and 60% of the nitrous oxide emissions produced by conventional diesel buses. See the press release from Daimler Buses North America, which owns the Orion Bus brand.

Closeup photo of the side of a vehicle painted taxicab yellow and bearing a taxi fare chart and a hybrid badge.

Forget the Checker Cab: The Big Apple's new trademark taxi is a hybrid.
Credit: Ford Motor Company

In addition, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted on December 11th for new regulations that require all new taxicabs in the city to achieve 25 miles per gallon (mpg), starting on October 1st, 2008. The TLC requirements increase to 30 mpg a year later, and exempt accessible taxicabs. The new regulations effectively require a shift to hybrid taxis in the city and are expected to result in an all-hybrid taxi fleet by 2012. The regulations follow a goal set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May 2007. At that time, the city had only 375 hybrid vehicles in its fleet of 13,000 taxicabs, but since then the number of hybrid taxis has nearly doubled to 627, which is more than any other U.S. city. See the TLC press release (PDF 46 KB) and the article from the EERE Network News on Mayor Bloomberg's May announcement. Download Adobe Reader.

This and other recent announcements from the Big Apple are part of PlaNYC, the city's ongoing effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In mid-December, for instance, the EERE Network News covered New York City's plan to carry out 132 energy efficiency projects in city buildings. And back in May, the newsletter covered a project of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to perform energy efficiency retrofits in 16 cities, including New York. That effort was expanded on December 7th, when the city teamed up with CCI and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a sustainability partnership for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the nation's largest public housing authority. The partnership will help provide access to energy-efficient and clean-energy technologies at reduced prices. NYCHA's comprehensive plan includes building retrofits as well as boiler and heating system modernizations for the more than 2,600 buildings managed by NYCHA throughout the city. NYCHA also plans to pursue remote monitoring and control for its 210 large, central heating plants; instantaneous water heating to replace aging hot water tank heaters; and energy-efficient lighting upgrades. See the articles from the December 12th and May 23rd editions of the EERE Network News and the December 7th press release from Mayor Bloomberg.