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BAE Systems wins San Francisco MTA contract for power and propulsion systems

By Eric Reinhardt


The Endicott location of BAE Systems will supply electric power and propulsion systems for the transit buses of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). The company says SFMTA selected BAE Systems for the work. (Photo provided by BAE Systems)

ENDICOTT, N.Y. — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has selected BAE Systems to supply electric power and propulsion systems for its transit buses.

The series-ER (electric range) system will operate on 68 transit buses and create designated zones throughout San Francisco that are free of emissions. The series-ER system targets these hot spots to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the areas where people live, work, and visit.

The firm’s facility in Endicott will manufacture the systems, a company spokesman tells CNYBJ.

The system “opens a new door” for San Francisco to get to zero emissions by 2035, as each bus will now be able to drive on clean electric power through each of the areas – known as “green zones.” Buses can now switch to battery power from a combustion engine, temporarily eliminating diesel emissions when they cross the threshold of a green zone. The technology allows the city to convert the fleet into part-time electric buses as an intermediate step to full electrification.

“This technology helps San Francisco get one step closer to full zero emissions operations, improving the health of the city’s environment and its residents,” Steve Trichka, VP and general manager of BAE Systems’ power and propulsion solutions business, said in a news release. “With series-ER, buses are programmed using global positioning software to turn off the bus engine once it enters the green zone and operate solely on electric battery energy.”

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia., BAE Systems, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, a global defense, security and aerospace company. Its website says the firm employs nearly 86,000 globally. That figure includes more than 1,300 employees in Endicott, per the company spokesman.

Pursuing zero emissions

BAE Systems says it’s helping cities around the world get to zero emissions with electric power and propulsion systems for transit buses. But the path to zero for each city is “unique, so the company is getting creative.”

For cities like San Francisco, that means using BAE Systems technology to create the so-called green zones.

The green zones — nine in total — are located in population-dense neighborhoods most affected by air pollution. Each of the zones has a large traffic presence that is contributing to a high rate of air pollution.

San Francisco isn’t alone as a community where green zones are “picking up speed.”

Boston, Louisville, Montreal, Nashville, and Seattle are using series-ER technology to cut emissions. Series-ER has also made the trip overseas to the United Kingdom, where it is powering new double-deck buses in Brighton.

The series-ER system is part of the company’s 20-plus years of experience developing and integrating electric propulsion and accessory systems for transit buses. It builds on that core technology by increasing the amount of on-board battery energy storage to provide zero emission travel without the need to stop the bus to recharge. This not only extends electric travel time and distance, but also eliminates the need to add large and costly charging stations.

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