Miami-Dade Transit expects electrification to boost fuel efficiency by 25%

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In a move to improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs, Miami-Dade Transit, the nation’s 14th largest public transit system, has electrified key accessories on 13 new county buses. MDT leaders, who expect the electrified buses to be 25 percent more fuel-efficient, say they chose the upgrades to provide a comfortable ride for the agency’s more than 70 million annual bus passengers, reduce costs and demonstrate the county’s commitment to environmentally aware solutions.

The agency formally committed to improving operational and energy efficiency throughout the county in May 2009. In recognition of that commitment, MDT is receiving the Energy Efficiency Leader Award from Thermo King. “By electrifying accessories on MDT buses, we are saving money and operating our buses more efficiently,” said Harpal S. Kapoor, director of MDT. “This also reflects our long-term commitment to increasing sustainability for our community.”

Florida’s largest public transit agency, MDT has 817 buses in its total fleet, including 25 New Flyer 60-foot diesel-electric hybrids and 13 NABI 40 foot diesel-electric hybrids with electrified accessories. This month, the addition of five new 40 foot Gillig diesel-electric hybrids with electrified accessories will bring the hybrid fleet to 43 buses and the total fleet to 822 buses. All buses in the fleet use biodiesel fuel and are programmed for automatic idle shutdown.

The electrified accessories include the propulsion system, the radiator fans and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Electric power steering will be added when the manufacturer makes it available. Based on the anticipated savings, the county expects to recoup its investment in the new technology within four years. Over the next five years, the agency plans to electrify other bus components such as power steering, doors, air compressors and wheelchair ramps.