DesignLine Corporation

DesignLine Corporation
DesignLine Corporation
Type Private
Industry Bus manufacturing
Founded 1985
Founder(s) John Turton
Number of locations
Area served Worldwide
Key people
  • Brad C. Glosson, CEO
  • Bill Cave, CFO
  • Andrew Green, President (New Zealand)
  • John Turton, Executive VP
  • DesignLine USA
  • DesignLine New Zealand

DesignLine Corporation is a bus, coach, and trolleybus manufacturer founded in Ashburton, New Zealand in 1985. Initially it was a manufacturer of tour coaches, later it diversified into city buses in the early 1990s, and then to hybrid city buses in the late 1990s. It was acquired by American interests in 2006, and DesignLine Corporations headquarters was relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. It has plants in both Charlotte and New Zealand.[1]

On 31 May 2011, DesignLine Corporation in New Zealand was placed in liquidation[2] and has since been sold to a Malaysian-controlled joint business venture.[3]


Hybrid buses

Designline is now best known for its hybrid buses, running on battery power and with a small gas turbine engine and generator to keep the battery charged. The turbines are supplied by Capstone Turbine of Chatsworth, California. Originally designed as a response to the international tender for ecological buses to be used in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the design was rated as technically best[citation needed] but did not win the tender. The City of Baltimore's Charm City Circulator operated by Veolia Transportation has reported significant concerns with the reliability of the DesignLine EcoSaver IV, owing to difficulties in the company's supply chain and problems with the battery and turbine function in hot weather.[4] As a result, the Charm City Circulator has publicly stated they will be retiring the entire EcoSaver IV fleet in early 2012.

The Chicago Transit Authority[5] and New York City MTA[6][7] tested the DesignLine ECOSaver IV hybrid bus in 2007 (the latter ended up ordering EcoSaver IV buses; but the order was canceled.). Banff is now the only 100% hybrid transit fleet in North America.[8] The DesignLine bus nearly doubles the fuel efficiency of a 40 foot bus, compared against traditional diesel vehicles.

These vehicles were introduced in 1998 on the Shuttle zero-fare inner-city bus in Christchurch, New Zealand,[9] first as diesel hybrids, and then as gas-turbine hybrids in 2000. After trials in Japan in conjunction with The Tokyo Electric Power Company, they have found export markets in Japan (2003), Hong Kong (2003), and in Tyne and Wear, England for the QuayLink operations.


DesignLine Corporation markets the following buses. The EcoSaver IV model in the United States is not the same as the EcoSaver IV model marketed outside the United States, as noted in the table.

DesignLine buses are manufactured in New Zealand for left-hand traffic markets, and the United States for right-hand traffic markets.

Model name Photo Type
United States Europe, Asia,
Australia, and
New Zealand
EcoSmart I
  • All-electric
EcoSaver IV Euro IV MTA New York City Bus DesignLine EcoSaver IV (2009).jpg
SmartBus liveried Ventura bus.jpg
  • Hybrid and all-combustion (non-hybrid) configurations
  • Non-USA models are built on a
    Scania or MAN chassis
  • Optional third axle available
Olymbus EcoSaver IV Quaylink bus 9 Apr 09.JPG
Hinomaru EV-02 metrolink-nihonbashi LYTTELTON.jpg
  • Hybrid and non-hybrid configurations
Euro V Hinomaru BS-18 tokyo-bay-shuttle.jpg
  • Hybrid and non-hybrid configurations
  • Built on a MAN chassis
  • Optional third axle available


Currently, Designline buses are used in revenue service in 13 cities in five countries worldwide, with five more cities in the United States planning to introduce them in the near future.[10]

United States

Future operators

New Zealand


Hong Kong, China

Other countries

  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
    • Stagecoach


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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