Plug-in hybrid bus saves 75 per cent
In May, Volvo Buses starts running field tests using three plug-in hybrid buses in Gothenburg, Sweden. A solution that is 75 per cent more energy efficient compared with a gas bus.
How does a plug-in hybrid bus work?
“It is basically the same Volvo hybrid bus that is currently operating, where the braking energy is recovered and then used by an electric motor. However, with a new kind of battery, it is also possible to charge the battery through the mains network,” says Edward Jobson, Environmental Director at Volvo Buses.
What advantages do plug-in hybrids offer compared with normal hybrids?
“The list of advantages is long, but, as they can be run on electricity to a greater degree, they are quieter and noise is a major problem in today’s cities. The plug-in hybrid is also more energy efficient. We save 75 per cent compared with a gas bus, which is currently the most relevant benchmark.”
What are you looking at in these field tests?
“We are examining the entire concept: how quiet they are, energy consumption and what the emissions look like in reality. We want to see what happens when these buses drive through central Gothenburg without discharging any emissions whatsoever.”
What are your thoughts on battery charging? How is that going to work?
“We want to make use of the natural stops along the route, so that passengers don’t need to wait while the batteries are charged. That’s why charging stations are being built at the terminuses on the route. As the bus also has a diesel engine, there is no crisis if it is slightly behind schedule. Charging can simply be missed out. As a result, the solution is really robust.”
How large investment is required to build the infrastructure necessary for plug-in hybrids?
“The cost per terminus is about the same as a bus and one station can serve five to six buses. However, a station has a very long service life.”