BAE Systems’ latest Low-No contracts endorse flexible powertrain solutions strategy
By Jim Gibbins - 6th February 2023
USA - BAE Systems Inc of Endicott, New York State announcing several new contracts to supply electric hybrid and zero emission full-electric drivetrains for transit buses to US Mass Transit Authorities stated it is the only powertrain supplier to receive both ‘Low’ and ‘No’ emissions awards under the USD1.17bn fiscal year 2022 funding round of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (DoT FTA) Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program*.
John Hroncich, Director, North American Transit Sales at BAE Systems, Power & Propulsion Solutions explained that BAE Systems was the only named powertrain supplier to supply both ‘Low’ (hybrid electric buses (low emissions) and ‘No’ contracts (hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric buses) under the Low-No funding programme.
Hroncich stated that these contracts highlighted the work done by BAE Systems on hybrid and its Get To Zero™ commitment over the last 25 years, endorsing its use of the same core technology (and components) in its drivetrain systems for hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric buses.
The transit contracts involve three different electric drive powertrains; electric hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric. These Low and No emissions solutions will be deployed on North America’s leading transit bus manufacturers including GILLIG (Livermore, CA), Nova Bus (Plattsburgh, NY) and ElDorado National California (Riverside, CA)
The electric hybrids with GILLIG will integrate BAE Systems’ Series ER system (see schematic below).
BAE Systems’ Series-ER system for hybrid drive applications.
Battery electric buses (BEVs) with Nova Bus are to incorporate the BAE Systems Series-EV system.
BAE Systems’ Series-EV system for battery electric drive applications.
The HFC contract with ElDorado is the first application of its Next Gen Fuel Cell solution with its partner, Plug Power Inc of New York. These buses will be integrated with BAE Systems’ Series-H system for hydrogen fuel cell driven applications.
*Low-No Grant Program:
FTA's Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program, which started in 2014, makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built low- or no-emission vehicles, including related equipment or facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing USD5.5 billion over five years for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding.
Mid-August 2022 saw the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration announce (for fiscal year 2022) USD1.66 billion in grants to US transit agencies to invest in 150 bus fleets and facilities.
Funded by the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, more than 1,100 of the 1,800 vehicles will use zero-emissions technology.
FTA's Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supports transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses and vans and building bus maintenance facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly USD2 billion over five years for the program. For Fiscal Year 2022, approximately USD550 million for grants was available under this program.
Examples of projects selected to receive Fiscal Year 2022 funding include:
• The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive USD116 million to buy approximately 230 battery-electric buses to replace older diesel buses, electrifying nearly four percent of its 5,800-bus fleet and launching a comprehensive workforce training and development program. The project will improve the safety and reliability of transit service and improve air quality for residents and visitors to New York City.
• The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will receive USD104.1 million to buy approximately 160 battery-electric buses to replace older compressed natural gas buses as well as charging equipment. The project will improve safety, air quality and reliability for residents and visitors to the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
• The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) will receive USD54 million to build an operations and maintenance facility. The facility, which will be in Memphis, will accommodate more than 300 vehicles and improve safety and ensure a good state of repair for the bus fleet.
• The Colorado Department of Transportation will receive USD34.7 million on behalf of Summit Stage, a rural transit agency that provides bus service in Summit, Park and Lake counties in northeast Colorado, to build a bus depot for electrical charging and storage. It will replace Summit Stage’s aging facility and prepare for a 100-percent electric fleet in the future.
(In response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, FTA received 530 eligible project proposals totalling approximately USD7.72 billion in requests).