Sunpods Inc. is California-based manufacturing company. They produce modular, fully integrated and tested solar power generation systems. Recently they have come out with an idea of the first solar power-assist system for buses. They should be applauded for developing it in a mere six weeks. Their partner is Bauer Intelligent Transportation. The system developed by Sunpods will help Bauer to meet strict anti-pollution standards laid down by the State of California. California state law since 2008 has disallowed diesel vehicles to remain idle for more than five minutes. Now more than 25 states across the United States have anti-idling laws.

Gary Bauer, founder and owner of Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation says, “We support the state’s strong commitment to reducing pollution. At the same time, as a transportation provider, we wanted to meet our customers’ requirements for comfort and connectivity. SunPods was able to make our vision a reality in less than 6 weeks. We’ve been testing the bus for the past 4 weeks and we’re impressed with the reliable performance.”

SunPod’s solar power-assist system has already been tested on a Bauer IT bus since January 2010. Bauer IT finds the performance of the solar power-assist system quite impressive. SunPods’ modular solar power assist system is made up of four thin film solar panels. They will be mounted across the length of the bus. These panels will help in charging an on-board deep cycle battery bank. When the bus engine is inactive the work of the batteries would be to power the air-conditioning and wireless connectivity equipment. This will facilitate the bus companies to meet anti-idling standards without putting passengers to discomfort.

Dan Jaeger, president and co-founder of SunPods expresses his thoughts, “We are really pleased to collaborate with an innovative company like Bauer IT. As a company, our focus is on reducing installation costs to make solar power more cost-effective and, thereby, increase adoption. With Bauer IT’s support, we have created a solar power assist system for luxury buses across the US.”

Bauer IT is an environmentally friendly transportation company. They have already taken many steps to reduce pollution. They possess a fleet of bio-diesel, EGR and propane vehicles. Bauer IT has installed in its buses the clean burning Series 60 engines. Series 60 engines use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology and diesel particulates filters. They way they fully fulfill all EPA emission requirements. The requirements laid down conditions for a 90% reduction in particulate matter. Another condition is they should observe more than 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx). EGR technology circulates cooled exhaust gas back into the engine air intake. This helps in lowering combustion temperatures and ultimately reducing the formation of NOx.

The buses have another mechanism working for them i.e. ZF Astronic transmission. It is a 12-speed manual transmission but its beauty is it behaves like an automatic version. ZF Astronic transmission takes into account the load, speed and road conditions. Then it analyzes these parameters and the transmission decides which is appropriate “shifting.” Fuel economy tests demonstrate a more than 6% increase in performance.

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