Continued success for Volvo’s hybrid buses5/7/14
Sales of Volvo Buses’ hybrid models continue to pull ahead. In the first quarter of 2014, orders for more than 100 new buses were signed by customers in countries such as Britain, Germany and Switzerland. All told, Volvo Buses has now sold more than 1350 hybrid buses since their introduction in 2010.
“Cities the world over are working hard to improve the quality of life for their populations. That is why more and more public transport authorities are imposing particularly far-reaching demands on low emissions of air pollution, low noise levels and low energy consumption. Our hybrids meet all these demands with their dependable and flexible technology,” says Lars Johansson, Director Global Marketing at Volvo Buses.
Volvo Buses’ comprehensive range of hybrid buses consists of the two-axle Volvo 7900 Hybrid and the Volvo 7900 Articulated Hybrid, a three-axle high-capacity bus with space for up to 154 passengers. Chassis with Volvo’s hybrid powertrains also form the basis for British double-deckers and the buses used in South American BRT systems, which drive in separate lanes to ensure maximum efficiency. There are customers in more than 20 countries.
The largest single markets are Britain, Colombia, Norway and Sweden. Germany, Brazil and Switzerland have also ordered a large number of hybrid buses.
Demand increased ahead of London Olympics
“In Britain the demand for environmentally optimised buses took off ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. We have now sold 590 hybrid buses to Britain. As recently as March this year, we received an order for 18 hybrid double-deckers. In February, customers in Germany placed orders for 27 new hybrid buses, 15 of which in articulated configuration,” reveals Lars Johansson.
During the second half of 2013 Volvo Buses received an order for 200 hybrid buses from Bogotá in Colombia. This contract covers not just the buses but also all service and maintenance.
Battery capacity at fixed monthly cost
“Customers taking the step into a new technology naturally want security. We therefore offer various business packages whereby we undertake to handle all maintenance for the entire bus including the batteries, at a fixed predetermined price. This is a solution that benefits both parties,” says Lars Johansson.
The latest-generation hybrid buses have many new features, including a lighter body, more energy-efficient auxiliary systems and a 5-litre diesel engine that meets the very latest European exhaust emission requirements, Euro 6. This means higher capacity, lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emissions, noise and vibration.
Compared with corresponding diesel buses, the fuel consumption and climate impact of the hybrid models are between 30 and 40 per cent lower, depending on model. Emissions of air pollutants are about half. The hybrid buses also operate more quietly than diesel buses do. When running on electric power at bus stops, the vehicle produces no emissions whatsoever and operates virtually silently, features that are highly appreciated not least by waiting passengers.
“In 2016 we will also start to offer electric hybrid buses that can run seven kilometres solely on electricity, thus reducing fuel consumption by up to 75 percent. The technology, whereby the bus batteries are fast-charged at terminals located at either end of the bus route, is currently being tested in regular Gothenburg traffic. This autumn will see the start of another EU-financed field test involving Volvo’s electric hybrid buses, this time in Stockholm,” says Lars Johansson.
Facts about the Volvo 7900 Hybrid and Volvo 7900 Articulated Hybrid, Euro 6
- The two-axle version has up to 39 % lower fuel consumption than a corresponding diesel-powered bus, the articulated version has about 30 % lower fuel consumption.
- 40-50 % lower exhaust emissions.
- Quiet and exhaust-free operation at bus stops.
- Runs on electricity/diesel or biodiesel.
- Equipped with an electric motor, batteries and a small diesel engine.
- The diesel engine (Volvo D5) meets the EU’s latest emissions standards, Euro 6.
- The powertrain is a parallel hybrid, which means that the diesel engine and electric motor can operate independently of one another.
- The batteries are charged with the energy generated during engine braking.
- The electric motor is primarily used for acceleration from standstill up to 15-20 km/hr
- The articulated bus is 18 m long, has a low floor and can carry up to 154 passengers.