AVL Powertrain Engineering Inc. has endorsed the electric propulsion systems of hybrid bus maker Fisher Coachworks, founded by a grandson of Fisher Body founder Albert Fisher.
The suburban Detroit unit of the engineering services firm reviewed the component selection and powertrain strategy of Fisher's GTB-40 bus, which will be powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain or an all-electric powertrain with production expected to begin in 2010.
Powertrain consulting for hybrid bus manufacturers is a growing area of AVL's business, said Jerry Klarr, hybrid and electric vehicle director for AVL.
"They did a 'fresh eyes' review of our propulsion strategy and component selection and came back with their views on it, supporting our strategy, and we have a very clear path forward," John VanAlstyne, Fisher vice president of marketing, said yesterday at the Management Briefing Seminars.
VanAlstyne would not say what powertrain option would be built first or the expected production volumes. But he said the buses are expected to get 10 mpg with a hybrid-electric powertrain and more than 20 mpg in a planned all-electric model. Currently, hybrid buses average 5 mpg. Traditional diesel buses average 3.5 mpg.
Conventional buses are 29,000 pounds with 600 parts, whereas Fisher's GTB-40 has 325 parts using 100 percent stainless steel for the body, weighing 16,000 pounds. The exterior is raw stainless steel with no paint or finish, cutting steps from the manufacturing process, VanAlstyne said.