Charging a plug-in hybrid bus in just ten minutes
In a time of increasing numbers of urband wellers and a dire need for greener and more pleasant cities, our engineers are facing quite a few challenges. Not only are they looking to extensively reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from public city buses, but also make them less noisy. Their answer? A plug-in hybrid bus that may be the next step towards a fully electrified public city transport infrastructure.
Volvo Group’s hybrid buses are the world’s most efficient public transportation vehicles for city use. But there’s precious little time to rest on our laurels in a world with growing environmental problems and speeding urbanisation. To further develop the current hybrid concept, chargeable plug-in hybrids are now seeing the light of day at the hands of Volvo Group’s researchers and engineers.
The basics of these vehicles are pretty similar to current hybrids, with brake energy recycled and utilized by the electric motor. But with a new type of battery and charging equipment it’s now possible to charge the battery through the power grid. The challenge has been to build batteries that can withstand high-powered charging in just 10 ten minutes and that can pack 10 – 15 times as much energy as previous batteries.
Electric charging at the end stations
By placing charging stations at each end of the bus lines, there will be continuous availability of electricity, allowing the buses to operate emission-free for up to ten kilometres between charges. The average city bus ride is actually 25 kilometres in most cities, but ten kilometres is enough for these hybrid buses to drive on pure electricity through all the most sensitive parts of the city. In the future Volvo Group’s engineers hope to make better, smaller and lighter batteries allowing for fully electrified bus transportation in city areas. For the moment battery technology is still a trade-off between weight, cost and energy.
Great environmental improvements
Compared to the current city diesel buses, the new technology will reduce total energy consumption by up to 65% and lower carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 75%. But environmental efficiency is just one benefit of the hybrid bus. Regardless of how much most of us enjoy the bustling city life and ease of transport, we still prefer to reduce some noise levels. Especially from heavy traffic. The hybrid bus running on electricity only is as close to quiet as you can make a bus, making cities a lot more peaceful.
Test driving in city traffic
Supported by the European Union and the Swedish Energy Agency, the Volvo Group will put three plug-in buses into action in city traffic (in Gothenburg, Sweden), with the purpose of test driving and evaluating before going on the market.