A bus that weighs half as much as conventional buses, boasts three times the fuel economy and can carry 20 percent more passengers could debut by the middle of next year. At the heart of the bus is an ultra-high-strength stainless steel body and chassis that would actually be up to 30 percent less expensive to build than the standard bus body. ORNL researchers are helping develop the lightweight structure and chassis by performing computer crash studies. Results show the side intrusion to be within allowable limits. The bus would be much quieter and have far less of an environmental impact compared to typical diesel-powered buses. The bus would also provide significant operational cost savings. The hybrid electric bus is being developed through a collaboration of several partners, including Autokinetics of Rochester Hills, Mich., Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program.