Operations

Livonia to Be Home of Hybrid Bus Factory

Posted on February 1, 2009

LIVONIA, Mich. — Fisher Coachworks LLC, of Troy, Mich., is in talks to start building a line of hybrid city buses and may bring about 540 jobs to the company.

 

The buses are 40 feet long, lightweight, and will get 10 miles per gallon over other hybrids’ four- to five-miles per gallon, according to a report by Livonia Observer. Conventional diesel buses get three miles per gallon. The buses are lighter by design than competing designs.

 

 

“It’s a complete clean-sheet of paper design,” said Fisher Coachworks vice president for marketing John Van Alstyne. “There are no legacy designs such as chassis.”

 

He said the modern-looking plug-in hybrid engines will charge their batteries overnight and every time the driver uses the brakes to slow down. The design is half the weight of average buses, giving it two times the fuel efficiency of competing hybrids.

 

The company will make a $7 million investment in the city, bolstered by a $11.3 million Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit, and will ask for a 12-year tax abatement from the Livonia City Council.

 

County officials have been courting the company for a few months, convincing them to locate in Livonia rather than a similar community in Tennessee, said Dennis Niemiec, a Wayne County spokesman. Mayor Jack Kirksey said it was a classic tug-of-war where the two communities offered what they could.

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