APS Systems Completes Work on Hybrid-Drive Bus
APS Systems, an Oxnard firm that converts buses to clean-air technology, has completed work on three military transportation buses that combine natural gas and battery power, according to the Calstart transportation consortium.
In addition to the so-called hybrid-drive vehicles, APS is building a lightweight bus from the ground up, the Burbank-based consortium said.
Calstart says the system that powers the buses is the first of its kind in the nation. The vehicles are being tested at Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of a joint development program involving Calstart, the Air Force and the Defense Department.
In May, APS rolled out what the company contended was the nation’s first electrically operated school bus. The firm, which was once exclusively a defense manufacturer, also has produced battery-operated shuttle buses for several agencies in Santa Barbara County.
According to Calstart, the military vehicles being tested combine the strengths of natural gas and electric power for increased range and low air emissions. “We’ve combined the best of two fuels, natural gas and electricity, and are making them work together,” said Michael J. Gage, Calstart’s president and chief executive.
The APS-produced power systems are described as integrated hybrid. They use an electronic drive powered by a battery pack combined with a generator that is fueled by compressed natural gas. The batteries and generator can each power the vehicles alone or can work together to produce extended range and improved performance.
The buses have been tested at a range of 160 miles using the combined power system, Calstart said. The consortium said this is triple the range of comparable vehicles using batteries alone.