“Our performance results are even slightly better than we had anticipated. The plug-in hybrid consumes less than 11 litres of fuel for every 100 kilometres. That's 81% less fuel than the equivalent diesel bus consumes,” says Johan Hellsing, who is the Project Manager for the field test at Volvo Buses.
Moreover, the figures for the overall energy consumption, including both diesel and electricity, have exceeded the target. Here, the plug-in hybrid gives an energy saving of 61%, compared to a corresponding diesel bus Euro 5.
The field test in Gothenburg began in June 2013 and includes three plug-in hybrid buses, whose batteries are recharged at the terminals. This makes it possible for the buses to run on electric power for most of the route.
In addition to the significant energy savings and reduced impact on the environment, this technology gives passengers a more comfortable and pleasant journey and improves the working environment of the drivers.
“Although there are many long, steep gradients on the routes, the plug-in hybrid buses can run on electric power for about 85% percent of the time. The diesel engine only kicks in when the bus needs some extra power”, Johan Hellsing comments. “The test drivers from GS Buss really appreciate the quiet, vibration-free ride that you get with an electric powered bus.”
Hanna Björk, who works as an Environmental Strategist at Västtrafik says, “The results show that the plug-in hybrid can help us to achieve our ambitious environmental goals, particularly concerning the reduction of emissions and noise.”
The field test of the plug-in hybrid buses in Gothenburg involves 10,000 operating hours and will continue for most of next year. A demo project that will bring eight more plug-in hybrid buses into service will commence next year in Stockholm.
A number of European cities are showing a keen interest in the plug-in hybrids. Hamburg and Luxembourg have already signed contracts for supplies of the buses in 2014 and 2015. Volvo Buses is working together with the city councils, public transport authorities and providers to develop long-term sustainable solutions for public transport. Volvo Buses plans to commence commercial manufacture of plug-in hybrids towards the end of 2015.
Those engaged in the plug-in hybrid project in Gothenburg are Volvo Buses, Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg, Trafikkontoret and Västtrafik. The project is co-financed by Life+, the EU's financing programme for environmental projects.
Volvo’s plug-in hybrid bus:
- The bus is fitted with an electric motor which is powered by a lithium battery. It also has a small diesel engine.
- The bus is recharged from the mains power supply via an energy storage unit mounted on the roof. It takes 5 or 6 minutes to recharge.
- The bus can run exclusively on electric power for approximately 7 kilometres - without any noise or emissions.
See video about the Volvo plug-in Hybrid
Link to high resolution image