Volvo has begun field trials of its first hybrid bus in the Swedish city of Göteborg. Volvo's hybrid system is of the parallel type, allowing the bus to be operated off either the diesel engine, electric motor or both. When the bus comes to a stop, the engine is automatically shut off. Like other hybrids, the powertrain captures kinetic energy through regenerative breaking, When the bus pulls away from a stop, it does so under electrical power alone up to about 12 mph. The electrical energy is stored in a battery pack mounted on the roof, although Volvo doesn't specify the type of battery. Depending on the duty cycle, the hybrid can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 percent compared to a standard diesel bus.
Volvo plans to launch series production of its hybrid buses early next year with orders already pending from Luxemborg and Switzerland.
World premiere for Volvo's hybrid bus in Göteborg
Press Information – Volvo Buses
When Volvo's new hybrid bus now for the first time begins to carry passengers, it is happening in Göteborg. The Göteborgs Spårvägar transit company is participating in a field test with the hybrid bus that provides major fuel savings as a result of electric drive and shutting off the diesel engine at bus stops.
Environmental issues are high on the agenda among politicians in Göteborg and this applies to a great extent within traffic policy. There are distinct environmental demands the entire way from the politicians in the traffic committee, through the officials at the city's Traffic Office and those responsible for procurement at the Västtrafik county public services agency to the operators, including Göteborgs Spårvägar.
"A consistent and systematic environmental effort is the core of Västtraffik's strategy," says Leif Blomqvist, Västtrafik's Board Chairman. "We must be at the forefront in offering long-term sustainable travel. Seizing on new technologies is important for us and with the hybrid bus, exhaust emissions and noise are reduced."
Hybrid solutions for heavy vehicles have existed for many years, but they have been too expensive and reduced emissions too little, as a result of which they did not achieve market penetration. The Volvo Group's new hybrid technology changes this. The company has developed a technology that is common for buses, trucks and construction equipment. In this manner, the Group secures large component volumes and subsequently lower costs.
Silent at bus stops
Volvo's hybrid bus is equipped with two engines working together, a diesel engine that due to electric drive could be made smaller than usual, and an electric motor. The bus can be driven with both engines operating together or one or the other singly, which is one of the major benefits of the parallel hybrid technology used by the Volvo Group.
When the bus brakes, the braking energy is recycled and stored in a battery mounted on the roof of the bus. This energy is then used to drive the electric motor. When the doors open at the bus stop, the diesel engine is shut off entirely. The bus then starts solely powered by the electric motor and first when the bus reaches a speed of 15-20 km/h, the diesel engines starts automatically.
Volvo's hybrid technology contributes to a quieter and cleaner city environment. Fuel consumption, and consequently the emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, is reduced by up to 30% depending on where the bus is operating in traffic. The emission of nitrous oxides and particles declines by 40-50% compared with a conventional diesel bus.
"We reduce energy consumption per passenger by 50-75%, compared with using an automobile," says Edward Jobson, Environmental Director at Volvo Buses. "With such major environmental gains and such large savings in fuel costs, we are convinced that hybrid buses will become extremely attractive and a difficult-to-beat alternative for personal transportation within a few years."
Series production 2010
Volvo expects to start series production of hybrid buses at the beginning of 2010. The company has already received its first orders for the bus, including customers in Luxemburg and Switzerland. The field tests now starting in Göteborg are intended for making the final fine adjustments.
It was natural for Göteborgs Spårvägar to participate in the field test.
"Our goal is to be the frontrunner and, accordingly, we strive continuously to reduce the negative environmental impact of bus traffic," says Pierre Modini, Operations Manager at Göteborgs Spårvägar Buss AB. "Naturally, testing new environmental technology in our buses is important to us."
In the near future, Volvo Buses will also start field tests with the first of six hybrid double-decker buses in London.