Plug-in hybrids 60 percent more efficient

More economical, quieter and cleaner. In May, Volvo Buses’ first plug-in hybrids will be tested in traffic in Gothenburg. The technology will facilitate a reduction in energy consumption by a full 60% compared with current diesel buses. Commercial production is scheduled to commence in two years.

With more than 1,000 hybrid buses sold, Volvo Buses is world leading in terms of hybrid technology for heavy vehicles. Volvo is now taking another key step toward even more energy efficient and cleaner transport. The plug-in technology will facilitate the reduction of fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by 75 to 80%, compared with current diesel buses. The total energy consumption will be reduced by approximately 60%. Clean electricity operation entails silent driving and completely free from emissions. With this performance, combined with clean energy, Volvo Buses will be offering a sustainable alternative for urban transport.

Volvo Buses expects to commence commercial manufacturing of plug-in hybrids in a couple of years, but the technology must first be tested in the three buses that will be put into service in Gothenburg. A demonstration project has also been planned for 2014 involving eight plug-in hybrids in Stockholm.

Carbon dioxide emissions reduced by up to 90%
“The purpose of the field test is to study and verify the anticipated reductions in energy consumption and emissions, as well as to compile information from drivers, passengers and surrounding residents about their views on the properties of the bus. In addition, we expect to be able to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by up to 90% by using biodiesel instead of standard, fossil diesel oil in the combustion engine,” says Ulf Gustafsson, Senior Manager Public Affairs at Volvo Buses.

70% of the distance on electricity
The plug-in hybrids are based on the Volvo 7900 Hybrid, which was modified to enable recharging from electricity grids via a collector installed on the roof. The plug-in hybrids also have a larger battery package, making it possible to drive up to 70% of the distance, approximately 7 km at a time, quietly and free from emissions, using electricity. The batteries are charged at the bus terminus for between six and ten minutes.

Should problems arise during charging from the grid or if the bus is put in operation on a line with no charging stations, the plug-in hybrid will function exactly as current hybrid buses. In other words, the customer who wants to invest in the plug-in technology is able to do so without having access to a fully developed network of charging stations.

Volvo Buses participates in the plug-in-hybrid project in Gothenburg, in addition to Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg and Västtrafik. The project is partly financed by Life+, the EU’s financing program for environmental projects.

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