Once upon a time, the glory days of late 2007, the MTA had high hopes for a battery-powered bus with a turbine engine from DesignLine. The authority ran a test bus throughout the fall and ordered a small series of five in 2009 for a pilot. At the time, these vehicles were in the running to be the bus of the future, and in late 2009, the public voiced its approval. Alas, it is not to be.
For the past few weeks, I’d heard rumblings that the DesignLine bus pilot had failed, and Transit today confirmed the news. They summed it up in a statement:
“Based on testing that was conducted on DesignLine buses from August 2009 through December 2010 it became clear that the 30KW turbine engine did not provide enough power to operate in regular passenger service in a multitude of conditions. A larger 65KW turbine was fitted on a test bus but after extensive testing in service operation, it proved to lack an acceptable level of reliability for NYCT passenger service. We will return the five buses that were in Evaluation Service and all monies that were given to DesignLine will be refunded to NYC Transit.”
So much for that.