New hybrid buses that run on a combo of biodiesel fuel and electricity are getting the University of Michigan's students and employees around this week, and more of the eco-style vehicles will go into operation in coming days.
The 40-foot buses are adding to the U-M's fleet of alternatively-powered vehicles and stand out as they've been plastered with new maize and blue graphics that advertise the buses part of U-M's Planet Blue
initiative. The buses are also recognizable because of the power packs they carry on their rooftops.
"The addition of hybrid buses to our fleet is another step in our commitment to sustainability," says Keith Johnson, associate director of transportation operations. "By the end of 2012, one in six buses on campus will be a hybrid."
One hybrid diesel-electric bus went in to service last week. Three others are in are at the campus sign shop having their special graphics added. One of those will be ready to roll this week, and the the other two should be ready sometime this month, says Steve Dolen, executive director of parking and transportation services for U-M. Another three will be in service by the end of fall, he says, and a total of seven buses will be on the streets around campus by the end of the fall.
A grant from Clean Energy Coalition
and the Department of Energy paid for the first of the buses.
More alternative energy buses are sure to be bought, Dolen say, as the university has a long-term plan to continue moving away from buses as well as all university vehicles that rely solely on gasoline.
"The technology is always changing," Dolen says. "We are watching those changes so that we make the best financial decision and the best environmental decision."
Source: Steve Dolen, executive director of parking and transportation services, University of Michigan
Writer: Kim North Shine