Australia’s first Volvo hybrid bus has now hit the road and is running in Perth’s free inner city Central Area Transit (CAT) service. Early results of the Volvo B5RHLE 12-month trial run by Perth’s public transport operator, Transperth, are showing a positive trend.
“Although we are still in the beginning of the trial, early results are positive; the hybrid bus is servicing the Perth CAT routes effectively. We are collecting data using on-board Volvo telematics and service operator figures, which show a positive trend developing on fuel and emissions savings,” says Paul Burke, Fleet Manager of Transperth, Public Transport Authority (PTA).
The CAT routes, which pass through Perth’s CBD, offer high frequency travel with a low comparative average speed of about 14km, which is optimal for the Volvo hybrid technology.
“The trial gives us the opportunity to evaluate hybrid technology within the Perth public transport network with our current bus supply partner Volvo.
“We are hoping we will achieve fuel consumption savings, emissions reductions and lower noise output through the use of hybrid technology. Our aim is to develop a future CAT bus fleet replacement strategy and embrace the potential environmental benefits offered by the technology.”
The Volvo B5RHLE uses a parallel hybrid system combining the electric and diesel engine. Compared to a conventional diesel bus, the hybrid utilises energy otherwise wasted during braking. At a traffic light or bus stop, the diesel engine shuts down as another fuel saving measure.
The stored energy is used to charge the battery to allow the bus to run as electric only, which saves fuel. The parallel hybrid can also combine or solely use the output of the diesel engine, when the battery is low or when extra power is needed when accelerating.
“Compared to a diesel bus, passengers may experience improved comfort as the overall noise levels will be lower due to the hybrid engine stop/start characteristics, especially when the bus is running electric only.
“Our objective for the remainder of the 12 month trial is to evaluate the collected data and make an assessment of the future CAT bus replacement strategy.”
For the first time in Australia, Volvo Buses will be displaying a hybrid chassis and driveline on the ground floor of the Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo in Melbourne, during 1.-2.7.2013. Volvo will be conducting technical workshops about hybrid technology during both days of the exhibition.