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2008-2010: Orion VII NG HEV

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Unfortunately, all remaining 77 or so hybrids have now been pulled off the road. I will miss them! The Orion era at OC Transpo has officially ended. 

These buses had some high and low points which I will discuss below.

Firstly, these buses were pleasant to ride. Seats were comfortable, rear doors opened quickly, relatively spacious, and good air conditioning. They sounded great on takeoff and I liked the design (I like the original generation Orion VIIs better), even if it did seem a bit "cheap" to me. I'd say that these looked better than the Inveros. Despite all this, I would personally prefer to ride the artics or Inveros over these in spite of their flaws.

Unfortunately, the Orion VIIs had hybrid drivetrains (EPA 2007 ISB/HybriDrive) which didn't have much fuel savings at all over diesel buses. According to one of @Shane's posts in the retirement and rebuilds thread, it was found that there was only a 10%-15% fuel cost savings compared to the city's projected 35% savings. It's better than nothing, but it wasn't up to the city's expectations. I also read somewhere that the hybrids put OC in a $1 million fuel deficit in 2011. Part of this was due to OC treating them like any other bus and putting these on lots of routes, instead of keeping them on stop-and-go routes such as the 14/53 and the 18 for example. I think that if OC were to use these buses only on local stop-and-go routes and only use them on other routes as a last resort, it would have went at least slightly better.

Their retirement was bound to happen when OC Transpo announced in 2017 that due to the upcoming LRT, they would need 170-180 less buses on the road. As there were 177 hybrids, the writing was basically on the wall for them from that point on. They were also due for rebuilds shortly afterwards. Their batteries also needed to be replaced at some point (not to mention the lesser savings than was expected), so those were the main reasons for retirement. OC Transpo kept all these hybrids active until November 2019 (not counting buses that were damaged in accidents or fires) and they started retiring them shortly afterwards until now. 

OC Transpo did actually contemplate converting five buses into diesels (with EPA 2010 ISL9 engines compared to the EPA 2007 ISBs that were in there) back in 2012-2013 to see how they would perform, but they never ended up going ahead with the project. 

Overall, I'd say that these are good buses, but had they not been hybrid, they would have ranked higher. They've had a good run (even if the plan to save costs on fuel wasn't very successful) over the past 11-12 years and the Orion era is now history. Despite that, I'm sure many bus fans will remember OC's experience with hybrid buses for many years to come.

Article if anyone wants to read more about their experience with the hybrid buses: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/oc-transpo-not-pursuing-new-green-bus-technology-as-hybrid-program-runs-out-of-gas/wcm/6b5f093f-251f-4adb-a6d7-eb668fe7fc8c/amp/

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4 hours ago, OC Transpo/STO Fan said:

I'm confused by what you're asking, could you please elaborate? 

I'm assuming it's for the retirements? If so, it was posted on the CPTDB last night.

I just wanted to know where you got the source "That all Orion VIIs have retired" from because it might have not have been reliable, That's all.

The CPTDB has now officially blocked all visitors from viewing the National Capital Region due to admins against coping and pasting content on this forum.

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