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CALSTART ROLLS OUT FIRST ELECTRIC BUS TO TEST COMPONENTS FOR CALIFORNIA-BASED MASS TRANSIT PROGRAM

 /ADVANCE/ BURBANK, Calif., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- CALSTART, the statewide consortium developing a California-based advanced transportation industry, today rolled out its first prototype electric bus to inaugurate its Electric Bus/Mass Transit program.
 The program's Electric Transit Bus project, led by consortium member Southern California Edison, is a battery-powered "rolling testbed" for advanced components that will help shape the mass transit designs of the future, according to Diane Wittenberg, Edison's manager of Electric Transportation.
 "Meeting new air standards in California and around the world will demand transit options far cleaner and more efficient than today," said Wittenberg. "We already know electric buses are non- polluting and operating costs are less than half those of diesel. With this new `laboratory on wheels' bus project, we'll be able to test even more advanced designs, moving them quickly from the lab to the real world."
 The Electric Transit Bus project was announced at a 10 a.m. news conference at CALSTART's headquarters located at 3601 Empire Ave. in Burbank.
 In addition to the manufacturing of the electric buses, CALSTART studies show that the parts supply and service element of an electric bus industry will also have a major positive impact on job conversion from the aerospace and military industries.
 "All the CALSTART programs are focused on our twin goals of creating California jobs and improving the environment, and battery- powered buses will do both," said Mike Gage, president of CALSTART. "Our projections show that more than 6,000 California jobs could be created by the year 2000 from the manufacture of electric transit buses and components to serve the world market."
 The first CALSTART 22-foot transit bus will test alternative designs for major components, including power drives, range extenders and opportunity charging. It will also test the energy efficiency of traditional transit bus accessories, including electric door motors, passenger and driver compartment air circulation, and other common equipment.
 The bus will change out components on a regular basis, testing the efficiency and durability of individual components and entire component packages.
 CALSTART, along with consortium member Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD), is also in the development stage for a second, even more advanced 30-foot model. This bus will incorporate the findings of the prior tests, and also employ lightweight, energy- efficient accessories derived from aerospace and defense sector technologies, including high-efficiency air conditioners, motor drives, and aluminum and carbon fiber body parts.
 Both models will be tested under typical transit conditions in daily operations along the MTD's downtown routes.
 "Santa Barbara MTD has a real commitment to electric vehicles, with 10 vehicles ranging from small shuttles to large heavy-duty buses ... one of the largest fleets in the nation," said Gary Gleason, MTD general manager. "With the purchase of these two prototypes, we can use our operation and maintenance expertise to assess the components in a real-world setting, and help set standards and provide feedback for the entire industry."
 In addition to the Electric Bus/Mass Transit program, CALSTART is developing several interrelated transportation programs, including:
 -- The development of an infrastructure of charging stations and service centers to support electric vehicles;
 -- The Showcase Electric Vehicle Program (SEVP), unveiled last year, which is a collaborative effort of more than 20 California aerospace and high-tech firms developing advanced electric vehicle components for the worldwide market;
 -- The creation of a prototype "neighborhood" electric car designed for short trips.
 -0- 4/19/93/0900
 /CONTACT: Pat Fedorko of Southern California Edison, 818-302-2255; or Byron Crossen of Laufer Associates, 310-826-8826/


CO: Southern California Edison; CALSTART ST: California IN: UTI AUT SU:

MS-JL -- LA017 -- 6825 04/16/93 14:17 EDT
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Date:Apr 16, 1993
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