Lightning Hybrids LLC (LH) will retrofit two shuttle buses for the City of Loveland with their new hydraulic hybrid system in December and January. The vehicles, 2012 Ford E-450 passenger shuttle buses, will be put into public transit service and will be outfitted with special screens that will allow passengers to see how the hydraulic hybrid is working to save fuel.
These buses, the first hydraulic hybrid shuttle buses in fleets, get up to 40 percent better fuel economy than non-hybrids because they regenerate braking energy. The city expects to save $15,000 to $25,000 per vehicle in fuel and brake costs over the next five years, completely covering the incremental cost of the system.
Steve Kibler, Fleet Manager for Public Works for the City of Loveland said at the City Council meeting where Councilors unanimously approved the purchase of the systems, "I researched a lot of new vehicle technologies and ideas and I am a skeptic. However, I believe in technology that captures inertia and turns into reusable energy. Hydraulic hybrids are sustainable."
"We're pleased to partner with our hometown and excited that the City of Loveland is one of the early adopters of our hydraulic hybrid system. This news, in addition to our recent announcement of a major investment from 9th Street Investors, a CoorsTek affiliate, and our new 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space in downtown Loveland, moves Lightning Hybrids into an acceleration phase," stated Tim Reeser, LHI's Co-Founder and President. "We've tested the system on-road as well as in the lab, and now we're looking forward to working closely with the City to gather data on how the system is working in real world use."
Lightning Hybrids has been working on the hydraulic hybrid system since September 2008. Other local entities, including Colorado State University and the City of Greeley are in final negotiations to install systems in their fleets in the next few months. The Lightning Hybrid hydraulic system is available for heavy duty vehicles – work trucks, shuttle buses, utility vehicles – both new as well as retrofit to vehicles currently in fleets.
LHI's systems are made and assembled in Loveland, Colo.. Orders are currently being taken with delivery 60 days from receipt of order.