The Minister for Transport WA, Troy Buswell MLA, celebrated the launch of the new Volvo B5RH hybrid bus on January 16th at the Volvo dealership, Truck Centre WA, in Guildford, Perth. The new hybrid bus will begin operations in March in Perth’s free inner city CAT service run by the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia (PTA).
The hybrid bus is first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, but the technolgy has enjoyed increasing success in other markets with close to 1,000 sold worldwide since Volvo Buses first began commercial production of hybrid buses in 2010.
“Hybrid technology is an important option on the road for reducing vehicle emissions. As the technology continues to develop and we have the opportunity to test the suitability of our technology in new markets like Australia, we expect demand to keep growing worldwide,” says David Mead, General Manager of Volvo Bus Australia.
“Globally, Volvo hybrid technology has proven to save significant levels of fuel consumption, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by similar amounts” says David Mead.
The Volvo B5RH is assembled with a locally designed and built Volgren body following the same chassis and body approach of Volvo’s industry leading city chassis, the Volvo B7RLE.
The fully integrated parallel hybrid system used in the Volvo B5RH allows the vehicle to operate on either electric only, diesel only or a combination of both depending on conditions and energy requirements.
The Volvo hybrid chassis is powered by an environmentally friendly EEV 5 litre diesel engine which generates 215hp. This is complimented by an electric motor capable of producing 120kW (160hp).
With low average speeds, high idle time and city congestion, the Perth CAT service provides ideal conditions for the optimum use of hybrid technology.
"The CAT service will give us the perfect opportunity to test the suitability of this unit for Australian conditions. It will allow us to directly compare the unit to the proven Volvo B7RLE units already operating in Perth" says David Mead.
The electric motor acts both as a motor and a generator that recharges the battery when braking. At higher speeds the diesel engine and electric motor work together to power the bus along, while at lower speeds power can be electric only. Zero emissions are reached, when the diesel engine shuts off at lower speeds or during idling at a red light or bus stop.