PRESS RELEASE COTA CONTACT: Beth Berkemer Public and Media Relations Manager P (614) 275-5938 C (614) 565-6767 COTA “Going Green” with First Hybrid Buses COLUMBUS – COTA is “Going Green!” For the first time, six hybrid-electric passenger buses were introduced to the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) fleet by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and COTA President/CEO Bill Lhota on Wednesday, March 24, at COTA’s renovated “green” Fields Avenue Facility. The buses, which feature a new distinctive design and color scheme, were on display for the first time before they enter full revenue service in approximately June. The buses were purchased with the assistance of $2.1 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program funds through the combined efforts of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). “This is hopefully the future for transit systems,” Governor Strickland said. “COTA is committed to making environmentally responsible choices that ensure our business practices support healthy, livable communities,” said Lhota. “Sustainable actions taken today will protect the environment for future generations and that is a priority at COTA.” Following a short program and ribbon cutting, Governor Strickland revved up a hybrid in celebration of its initiation into the COTA fleet. “All aboard!” Governor Strickland proclaimed from the driver’s seat. “The engine is actually running – can you hear that?” Lhota pointed out to event attendants after Governor Strickland switched on the hybrid bus. “It’s much quieter than our regular diesel coaches.” Guests and members were then invited on a brief hybrid bus ride around COTA’s Fields Avenue Campus to experience first-hand the quiet, smooth ride of COTA’s new hybrid-electric buses. Because COTA’s new hybrid buses use power more efficiently, they will use less energy and fuel while significantly reducing carbon emissions. With LED lighting used inside and outside of the vehicle, the lights will consume 85 percent less energy and last 35 times longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs. COTA’s hybrids also have regenerative braking, reusing braking energy to repower batteries every time the brakes are pressed to stop or slowdown. And, hybrids provide a smoother ride due to the use of the electric motors at low speeds and no shifting is needed, while they are quieter since the diesel engine is running at idle the majority of time. --MORE-- A hybrid bus has two power sources: a battery-powered electric motor and a diesel-fueled combustion engine. COTA’s new hybrid buses, like most hybrid cars, are compound parallel hybrids. In a compound parallel hybrid, the diesel engine drives a generator to charge the batteries, which powers the electric motors that drive the axle and wheels. The diesel engine can also drive the axle directly and wheels can be driven by a blend of power from the diesel engine and electric motor. The electric traction motors are used at low speeds to propel the vehicle but as speed increases, the electric motor’s power progressively transitions to diesel engine power. Due to these features of a hybrid along with regenerative braking, COTA will mainly run its hybrid coaches on Local routes with lower speeds and more stops. An Express route may travel at speeds over 35 miles per hour, which would switch the engine over to mainly diesel propulsion. COTA’s 2009 low-sulfur diesel buses average 4.36 miles per gallon. COTA’s 2010 hybrid buses should average about seven miles per gallon. COTA’s new 2010 low-sulfur diesel buses cost $341,141.00 each. COTA’s new hybrid-electric diesel buses cost $573,620.00 each. Photos from event attached. Please contact Beth Berkemer to request high-resolution versions or with questions about photo content. --30-- Note: To request this information in an alternative format, call (614) 275-5828.