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Hybrid-Electric Bus to Debut at Summit of the Eight.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 18, 1997--The world's most advanced hybrid-electric bus will make its public debut at the economic summit meeting of world leaders this week in Denver, reflecting the summit's themes, which include economic growth in developing nations and environmental protection.

The hybrid-electric bus combines traditional lead-acid batteries with a revolutionary new MicroTurbine powered by compressed natural gas. Most earlier hybrid-electric vehicles combined internal combustion engines and batteries. The MicroTurbine, produced by Capstone Turbine Corp., recharges the batteries as the bus is driven, so the vehicle can travel much farther before its batteries have to be recharged. The turbine can burn a variety of fuels, with extremely low emissions. The Chattanooga bus also includes an advanced drive train by Solectria Corporation. It has also been designed as a test bed for new, efficient electric vehicle air conditioning systems.

The hybrid-electric bus and a second all-electric bus, which are on loan from Chattanooga's Living Laboratory for Electric Vehicle Development, will be used as a "dynamic exhibit" transporting staff and media, as part of the Advanced Vehicle Showcase, being held at the Colorado Convention Center concurrently with the June 20-22 Summit of the Eight. The hybrid-electric bus will also be available for special trips scheduled by U.S. government officials.

Both buses were made by Advanced Vehicle Systems (AVS) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which has manufactured and sold more than 60 electric buses. The Chattanooga buses will be available to the media beginning Thursday, June 19, accompanied by Joe Ferguson, president of AVS; Jim Frierson, RiverValley Partners; Rich Bailey, Chattanooga News Bureau; and Ellen Brook, for Capstone Turbine Corp.

After several weeks of road testing and data gathering to refine its operation, the new bus was recently put into service by the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). After the Summit, the bus will return to daily transit use in the free electric shuttle route CARTA operates seven days a week in downtown Chattanooga.

Until now, the capabilities of state of the art electric vehicles have been limited primarily by battery capacity, according to Rick Hitchcock, chairman of CARTA. For the bus on display at the Summit, the MicroTurbine nearly doubles the range that could be achieved using batteries alone. But, according to Hitchcock, the ultimate range of the turbine-battery combination is limited only by fuel capacity. "The Capstone turbine is the enabling technology that will allow buses and other large vehicles to match the functional capacities of any internal combustion vehicle in terms of speed and range," he said.

Partners in Chattanooga's Living Laboratory are coordinating a major international initiative to speed the introduction of electric vehicles in developing countries. The initiative, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, focuses on seven countries where electric vehicles could produce major air quality improvements, while reducing transportation costs. Costa Rica in October 1996 engaged CARTA and ETVI as technology partners in creating a pilot electric vehicle transit system for that country. The first electric bus exported to Costa Rica by AVS transported heads of state during the Central American Summit last April. Last year during the Centennial Olympic Games, ETVI managed the all-electric transportation system used to move athletes and coaches.

CONTACT: Chattanooga News Bureau, Chattanooga

Rich Bailey, 423/802-3840 (mobile) or

303/592-5361 (message)
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 18, 1997
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