GM Announces Testing of Hybrid Pickups

March 30, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

General Motors Corp. (Detroit) announced at the New York International Auto Show this week that it will begin testing a small fleet of electric-hybrid full-size pickup trucks in California and New York next year. The firm also announced the delivery of an advanced hybrid-electric bus to MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit).The hybrid-electric pickups will use a "power-assist" technology which will rely on an internal combustion engine for normal driving and use an electric motor for extra power as required, such as for starting or passing. The company's test fleet will include 24 vehicles, which it will put in its own fleets to gather performance data. According to GM President Richard Wagoner, the hybrid-electric platform is an interim solution while more efficient fuel-cell technology is developed. "Hybrid-electric vehicles represent a potential near-term solution for improving fuel economy and, in most cases, improving emissions," he stated. The hybrid-electric bus delivered to NYC Transit was presented by GM's Allison Transmission division, along with BP Amoco. The overhauled RTS transit bus is joining NYC Transit's Hybrid Bus Demonstration Project as one of the first placements of hybrid technology in revenue service in a major transit system in the US, according to GM.The 40-foot RTS bus is equipped with the Allison Hybrid Electric Drive, which is claimed to reduce emissions by 70 percent. BP Amoco formulated a prototype Ultra Low Sulfur City Diesel fuel for the bus, The fuel is claimed to enable the bus to use state-of-the-art diesel engine technology to augment the electric power unit. "The hybrid-electric bus that we are accepting today from General Motors' Allison Transmission Division is about to face some of the most demanding passenger service anywhere in the world," stated NYC President Lawrence G. Reuter. "With over two million bus riders a day in a densely populated urban environment, this hybrid-electric technology may hold the key to moving millions of people each day in an environmentally friendly manner.