Developers of aerospace and defense systems are not typically associated with positive ecological efforts, but BAE Systems has been applying its electric propulsion technology wherever possible to clean up the planet. Air pollution due to vehicle emissions has been decreased in recent months simply because of reduced driving due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but BAE has been trying to partner with major cities in finding ways to control rising greenhouse gases. For example, through the use of electric power and propulsion systems for transit buses (see the figure), the ecologically concerned firm is helping densely populated cities such as Boston, MA to curb rising air pollution.
The company’s reduced engine accessory load (REAL) system is part of lowering the overall emissions. It powers vehicle accessories such as the air conditioning and power steering to reduce the workload on the bus engine. This reduced strain on the engine not only lowers bus noise and vibration, but it also reduces the bus’s operating and maintenance costs.
Along with the REAL system, BAE has developed many different series of electric hybrid systems to reduce the carbon footprint of each commercial vehicle. These systems power accessories and drive systems and include electric motors, energy storage, and smart controls. The systems are supported by a number of the company’s innovative technologies, including lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and dense ultracapacitors, allowing diesel engines to be shut off and buses powered only by electric engines for better than 30% of the time.