After running into battery life issues with their new diesel hybrid buses, TTC of Toronto asked the nine city councilors who oversee the Toronto Transit Commission to approve moving back to diesel buses in 2010. The council gave their approval and then went one step farther.
Now TTC is going to call up Daimler and try to renegotiate their deal for 2009. It seems TTC is under contract to buy 130 more diesel hybrid buses, but given the trouble they've had, they don't want them. Instead, they want to purchase diesel buses and the council has given the go ahead for TTC to renogiate the deal.
Which I think is too bad. The maintenance issues they've had have been covered under the warranty. The lower fuel efficiency numbers they are getting are from using the buses in open areas, rather than in the more congested areas they would excel at. And the battery lifetime may no longer be an issue since the new buses they are ordering in 2009 will come as lithium-ion battery packs, not the lead-acid battery packs in the buses they purchased earlier.
But when the diesel hybrid bus costs $250,000 more than the diesel bus, those points may be moot.
Photo from flickr by R. Flores.