Maui News

Maui County unveils new electric buses

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The County of Maui Department of Transportation unveiled six new GILLIG BAE hybrid electric buses.

The 35-foot ADA low-floor, energy-efficient buses will initially be deployed within Central Maui. They can carry up to 40 passengers.

Maui County celebrates its six new hybrid electric buses. L-R: State DOT Director Jade Butay, County of Maui DOT Director Marc Takamori, Mayor Michael Victorino, County DOT Deputy Director Michael Du Pont,
City & County of Honolulu DOT Services Deputy Director Jon Nouchi and County of Kauai Executive on Transportation Celia Mahikoa. Photo Courtesy: Maui County

Through the creation of geofencing technologies, green zones can be set up along the bus routes where the buses will be capable of running on full electric mode. The buses have rooftop batteries powered by a diesel generator capable of producing up to 31.8-kilowatts.

“These hybrid buses represent an investment in protecting the environment and improving the health and quality of life of our residents,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said. “With improved fuel efficiency, we save money and reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change.”

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Each bus is equipped with a hybrid drive system. This employs a diesel engine coupled to a generator and an electric motor. The system is powered by a six-cylinder, clean diesel engine, an electrical drive unit, controller module, power processor and energy storage system.

When accelerating, the internal electric motor assists the diesel engine. During coasting and braking, the motor serves as a generator, converting vehicle momentum into electrical energy that is stored in the energy storage system. This helps slow the vehicle and minimize brake wear. It also allows the braking energy to be reused later.

Other features of the 2022 GILLIG BAE Hybrid Electric BRT bus:

  • Uses technological advances to more efficiently convert fuel into propulsion energy and reduces energy consumption, emissions and noise
  • Manufactured by GILLIG in Livermore, Calif.
  • Revolutionary, easy-access low-floor design, computerized systems, and hybrid drive. (Low Floor represents the best of bus technology, design, and manufacturing practices, with an emphasis on emission and energy reductions.)
  • New Livery and Logo designed by Graphic Designer Dre Kalili
  • Maui County has a 20% cost share with Federal Transportation Administration
  • The Energy Storage System, located on the bus roof, stores energy captured during coasting and braking. This energy is available on demand to allow the hybrid drive unit to assist with acceleration.
  • The Propulsion Control System, also located on the roof, is the power processing and power management center for the hybrid drive propulsion system.
  • Each bus is equipped with a Start/Stop mode that will allow the diesel generator to power off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop allowing it to run on pure electric.
  • A new wheelchair tie-down system called the “Q’Pod” will assist drivers and cut down time to secure chairs to less than 1 minute.
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For information about the Maui Bus, including its fixed routes and ADA paratransit program, visit https://www.mauicounty.gov/125/Department-of-Transportation or call 808-270-7511.

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