Caterpillar helps King County Transit win Clean Air Excellence Award

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The Caterpillar C9 engine with Acert technology has helped Seattle’s King County Metro Transit System capture the national Clean Air Excellence Award for 2005, presented by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The award was presented in April for Metro’s 235 hybrid buses, which accumulated eight million miles on the road in 2005. The buses produced a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the conventional diesel fleet, and a 50 percent reduction of oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter. Compared to conventional buses, the new hybrid buses provided a 31 percent improvement in fuel economy, 70 percent lower maintenance costs and more service miles in the first year than with the former fleet.

“Our goal has been to reduce emissions while improving fuel economy and reducing maintenance costs,” says Greg Gauger, director of Caterpillar On-Highway Power Systems. “This award for King County Metro shows that we are definitely on the right track.”

The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program was created six years ago to honor both individuals and organizations that “have undertaken the risks of innovation, served as pioneers in their fields, and have improved air quality.”

Driven by the need to replace an aging bus fleet, King County’s Metro Transit enlisted a team of manufacturers to develop a prototype clean-air hybrid bus to meet its needs. The result was a hybrid bus that operates on both ultra-low-sulfur diesel and electricity generated by batteries stored on the roof. New Flyer Industries designed the buses, with a hybrid electric drive supplied by Allison Transmission. The first two dozen hybrids went into service on June 5, 2004, with all 235 on the road by the end of the year.