The first hybrid bus from Volvo is now in commercial operation. Bus operator Sales-Lentz in Luxembourg has taken delivery of its first Volvo 7700 Hybrid.
Volvo Buses has taken another major step on the journey to the start of serial production of the company’s new hybrid buses in the spring. Since the summer, field tests have been conducted using a Volvo 7700 Hybrid in Gothenburg and six Volvo B5L Hybrid double-decker buses in London.
The results from these field tests are very good and the promised fuel savings of up to 30 percent were achieved and surpassed in some cases. Carbon emissions decreased to the same extent.
The next step in the development will now be taken with the first Volvo 7700 Hybrid in regular operations. The customer Sales-Lentz, Luxembourg’s largest bus operator, has ordered six hybrid buses from Volvo and received its first delivery.
The first bus will start by operating on various routes so that the operator can see where fuel savings, and thus environmental impact, are the greatest. The other five buses will be delivered next summer.
The decision from Sales-Lentz to place an early order for Volvo’s hybrid buses is based on the company’s belief that extensive action will be required to cope with current environmental problems.
“Everyone must all contribute what they can, including bus companies,” says Jos Sales, one of the partners in the company.
At the same time, he emphasizes the importance of making bus travel more attractive, to entice more people to leave their cars at home and take the bus instead.
“We know that the largest environmental impact will be if people decide to use public transportation instead of their cars. Hopefully, hybrid buses will contribute to increasing the status of buses and thus attract more bus passengers.”
Volvo’s hybrid bus has a small, five-liter diesel engine and an electric engine. The electric engine is battery operated and is charged by recovered brake energy. It is a parallel hybrid, which means that the bus can operate on either the electric engine or the diesel, individually or combined.
The hybrid technology is suitable for vehicles that must start and stop continuously and is thus ideal for city buses in heavy traffic. The advantage of parallel technology is that the buses also function perfectly in suburban traffic with greater distance between bus stops.
Another major advantage of Volvo’s hybrid technology is that the diesel engine switches off at bus stops. The bus starts using the electric engine and it is only when the bus is travelling at 15-20 km/h that the diesel engine starts automatically. This solution is a major benefit for the city environment. Passengers, pedestrians and fellow commuters are spared noise and exhaust emissions.
During the spring, Volvo will deliver hybrid buses to customers in countries including Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Denmark. Serial production will commence in April 2010.