Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Electric Transit Bus Specifications(30520)

Unique Technical Services, LLC


New York State’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), through its New York City Transit and MTA Bus Company agencies, operates thousands of transit buses in New York City, annually consuming millions of gallons of fuel, and entailing great cost, exposure to fuel price volatility, and environmental challenges. To reduce these impacts, and to possibly reduce maintenance costs as well, MTA has expressed interest in the introduction of all-electric buses. However, commercially available electric transit buses are deemed to be not well suited for operation in New York City. A key problem is that developers of existing electric buses have generally tried to match diesel bus specifications for speed, acceleration and range, which requires very large, costly batteries. These buses also often use novel lightweight chassis designs that are unproven in MTA’s operating environment. A compromise solution has been suggested under which electric buses would: (1) be used only on MTA routes that have characteristics friendly to this technology (i.e., relatively short routes on relatively flat terrain), and (2) use an existing MTA-qualified chassis. By not requiring electric buses to handle all MTA routes and to use a novel chassis, a large amount of cost and risk could potentially be avoided.

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Project Description

In this project, ElectroMotive Designs, LLC is performing a preliminary exploration of the subject concept by establishing specifications for a potential demonstration bus. Tasks include: assess MTA routes to identify ones having relatively low power and energy demands; develop specifications for an electric propulsion system (EPS) and auxiliary systems that satisfy the route requirements; select major components of the EPS; identify infrastructure requirements; and estimate electric bus applicability to the overall MTA route system.


By assisting in further electrification of public transit, the project could provide significant reductions in petroleum consumption, with proportionate reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Also, the technology studied here could provide economic growth opportunities for New York State manufacturers.

Project Results


Unique Technical Services, LLC
52 Roundabout Rd
Smithtown, NY 11787

Principle Investigator

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Joseph Wagner


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 10/25/2013
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 30520

Last Updated: 12/19/2013