OAK PARK, MI --- Azure Dynamics Corp. said it has sold five of its Balance Hybrid Electric buses to Votran, the transit entity for Volusia County in Florida. 

Votran is managed by the national firm McDonald Transit Associates Inc. The Votran vehicles use a 22-foot Turtle Top Odyssey body and are flexible enough to accommodate 14 passengers or four wheelchairs, or various combinations of the two. Votran expects delivery in the fourth quarter of 2009 and will integrate the buses into its countywide paratransit service. 

"We were able to use FTA stimulus funds to cover 100 percent of the cost of the vehicles," said Ken Fischer, McDonald Transit general manager at Votran. "These are our first hybrid electric vehicles and we're excited to put them into service. McDonald Transit manages numerous vehicle fleets across the nation and is actively pursuing hybrid electric and other alternative energy technologies."

The Azure Balance drivetrain, with a Ford 5.4L engine, can improve fuel economy considerably while reducing carbon emissions by up to 30 percent in city conditions, Azure Dynamics said. The drivetrain also offers a significant reduction in maintenance costs, including up to 75 percent reduction in brake maintenance versus conventionally equipped competitors. 

McDonald Transit provides management services at 30 locations in 16 states. First Class Coach Sales of Orlando managed the sale. First Class Coach has been named the Turtle Top dealer of the year several times.