Hybrid Buses

The RTC RIDE fleet includes two 40-foot hybrid diesel-electric buses. The hybrids went in service on RTC RIDE Route 1 in June 2007. 

These are the first hybrid buses in the RTC RIDE fleet. They were made for RTC by Gillig, with a hybrid electric drive supplied by Allison Transmission, a division of General Motors. The 2007 model hybrid buses are the first Gillig/Allison hybrids manufactured that utilize the 2007 emission compliant engines. The Allison parallel system provides both a mechanical and an electrical path through the drive unit. As the bus accelerates from a stop, electric drive predominates. Mechanical gradually blends with electric until at highway speeds, the drive is purely mechanical. 

The RTC will evaluate the performance of the hybrid buses over the next two years. If they prove to be cost effective RTC will purchase additional hybrid buses over the next several vehicle procurements.

How do hybrid buses benefit our community?

The addition of hybrid diesel-electric buses to the RTC RIDE fleet is a significant step towards improving the quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. Hybrid buses help our environment by reducing emissions and reducing noise pollution.

What are the benefits for RTC RIDE passengers?

  • 90 percent emission reduction
  • Quieter operations
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Smoother acceleration and braking
  • Improved on-road performance

For most transit systems, the reason hybrid bus technology is so appealing is that it helps overcome the most problematic part of transit service – stop-and-go traffic. Electric motors develop maximum torque at slow speeds and are ideally suited for frequent quick starts; the drive system recaptures normally lost braking energy converting it into electricity which is stored in the batteries.

How much will it save?

  • Hybrid diesel-electric buses provide a significant fuel consumption improvement over conventional diesel buses, with a range of 25% to 60% fuel economy improvement depending on the route and driving conditions.
  • In anticipation of stricter State of Nevada regulations regarding the use of alternative fuels, RTC replaced low-sulfur diesel fuel with biodiesel in 2006. Fuel represents 8.7% of the hourly cost to operate a bus. As fuel becomes more expensive, it will become an even more significant factor in the overall operating cost of transit. The improved fuel economy of hybrids will help to mitigate rising fuel costs.
  • Hybrid operating costs are estimated to be approximately $208,000 lower during the life of the vehicle when compared with conventional diesel buses.
  • Bus manufacturers estimate that the number of hybrid bus orders currently projected will bring the unit price for hybrids down by 10-20% during the next two years. By comparison the cost of conventional diesel buses increased more than 15% during a six month period in early 2006.

How clean is it?

  • Particulate Matter (PM) reduced by 90 percent
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) reduced by 90 percent
  • Hydrocarbons (HC) reduced by 90 percent

These two buses meet and/or exceed the current 2007 EPA emission requirements for “on highway” transit buses. Complying with the strict 2007 EPA emission requirements has not been easy, and we are excited that we are able to provide quality, clean running buses in our community.

How do the Hybrid buses fit in with the rest of the RTC RIDE fleet?

The new hybrids are replacing the aging Nova buses. During the next four years, RTC is scheduled to replace 47 RTC RIDE buses that will have reached the end of their useful life, defined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as 12 years or 500,000 miles. Each year, stricter air quality standards are imposed on conventional diesel engines requiring cleaner fuels and new engine technologies. As a result, RTC has been evaluating alternatives to conventional diesel buses and concluded that diesel hybrid electric buses are the best choice for moving to cleaner burning, fuel-efficient, and lower cost vehicles.


  • Manufacturer: Gillig Corporation, powered by the G.M Allison EP 40/50 system. These buses are the first in the industry to utilize the Allison EP 40/50 in combination with the 2007 model Cummins ISB engine.
  • Fleet Number: 503 – 504
  • Seats: 40 passengers
  • Length: 40 ft
  • Year: 2007