The inspiration behind Altair’s BUSolutions program was driven by its global product development consulting organization, Altair ProductDesign. Through an active consulting practice in the transportation industry, it became clear that the business challenges faced by owners and operators required an entirely new bus development process and design.
Comprising of senior management, designers, simulation experts and vehicle development engineers, Altair launched BUSolutions, an internally sponsored program. The cross-functional team sought to apply their deep domain knowledge and a simulation-driven design methodology to fully develop a next-generation bus design.
From its inception, the BUSolutions program has continually involved industry experts from the manufacturing segment, transit authorities and rider advocacy groups to ensure that the program goals align with industry needs.
Based on the merits of the innovative design and predicted performance benefits, in 2005, Altair partnered with Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, to explore government grant opportunities to support the physical build and testing of a technology demonstrator to validate the design.
As a result, the program attracted the attention of officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and its Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Since 2005, the FTA issued $5.1 million in funding to Altair, with additional program support provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Automation Alley, to produce a prototype demonstrator of the bus concept.
What started as an internally funded “stretch” project has resulted in an industry-first, series hybrid-hydraulic bus design that is ready for manufacture.
Having successfully completed the testing phase to validate the design and performance metrics, BUSolutions LCO-140H is the lowest cost, most fuel-efficient hybrid bus on the road today.