DETROIT -- Greg Fisher is getting back into the coachbuilding business.
Fisher is the grandson of Fisher Body Co. co-founder Albert Fisher--who, along with his brothers, ran the car body company whose iconic coach symbol was stamped on General Motors vehicles for most of the 20th century. Fisher Body later became a GM division.
Now that insignia will adorn sleek silver buses.
"We're essentially getting the band back together after 100 years," Fisher said.
He aims to build the Fisher GTB-40 bus, a 40-foot ultralightweight hybrid that boasts twice the fuel efficiency of current hybrid buses.
It uses a lightweight, nitrogen-strengthened stainless steel unibody; has no traditional engine for propulsion; and relies on Swiss-made batteries to drive motors for each wheel. The buses are half the weight of other hybrid and diesel models.
A small diesel engine powers a generator that keeps the batteries charged longer. Energy from the brakes is captured for reuse.
"It's really a different mousetrap, a different widget," Fisher said.
The buses are estimated to get 10 mpg compared with the 4 to 5 mpg for hybrid buses on the road today, resulting in a projected savings of $2.5 million in fuel costs over the typical 12-year life span of a bus. That savings is realized despite a $550,000-per-unit price--compared with today's hybrids, which cost about $200,000 less.
(Source: Automotive News)