In May this year, Volvo Buses launched serial production of its hybrid buses, the Volvo 7700 Hybrid and the double-decker Volvo B5L Hybrid. In a short time, the company has secured orders for about 150 hybrid buses in Europe.
But the increasing demand for hybrid buses derives not only from Europe but also from several other places around the world.
“Researchers currently agree that we must find methods to reduce total energy consumption,” says Edward Jobson, Environment Manager at Volvo Buses. “Hybrid technology is the best way to achieve this in public transport, this is being recognized by an increasing number of decision-makers and Volvo can offer the most efficient solution.
Consequently, Volvo Buses has initiated test driving of buses with Volvo hybrid technology in South America and Mexico.
In South America, test driving is being conducted in cooperation with the Clinton Climate Initiative organization, which focuses on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The organization has an agreement with Volvo, whereby they jointly demonstrate the major benefits provided by the hybrid technology and the BRT system with regard to reducing carbon emissions.
For the past few days, the first hybrid bus has been operating in test traffic in Curitiba, Brazil, in collaboration with URBS, the company responsible for local traffic in the city.
In 2014, Brazil will be hosting the Soccer World Cup and this is one of several reasons why many cities in Brazil are investing significantly to create more efficient and environmentally sound transport solutions. The test driving of Volvo’s hybrid buses is in line with this effort.
After Curitiba, the Volvo 7700 Hybrid will be tested in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and later also in Bogota, Colombia.
A Volvo 7700 Hybrid also recently arrived in Mexico, where it will be tested in Mexico City for a dedicated service running through the historic centre to connect two BRT lines using hybrids exclusively. It will also feature at a conference on sustainable transports in Mexico City and, in particular, at the major COP 16 climate conference in Cancun.
The unique hybrid technology of Volvo is a parallel hybrid where a smaller diesel engine and an electric motor can power the bus independently, as well as by both engines simultaneously.
The brake energy is recovered, stored in a lithium-ion battery provides energy to the electric motor for drive power. Several of the auxiliary systems also use electricity from the battery.
With a parallel hybrid, the battery is smaller and lighter compared to a serial hybrid. For Volvo Buses the result is that the hybrid bus can carry more passengers than its diesel counterpart.
The fuel savings is also bigger with a parallel hybrid and that in a wider field of applications. The fuel consumption in a Volvo hybrid bus is reduced by up to 35% and greenhouse-gas carbon emissions are cut by an equal amount.
Other emissions are also about 40-50% lower. For countries that today use buses with Euro III engines, other emissions are up to 80% lower with the Volvo hybrid bus.
Volvo’s hybrid technology also contributes to a more silent city environment since the diesel engine switches off at bus stops. The bus starts only with the help of an electric motor, which results in a quiet and exhaust-free environment at bus stops.
“Volvo currently has the world’s most efficient hybrid solution,” says Edward Jobson. “It generates substantial environmental gains regardless of whether it is used in heavy city traffic or sparse traffic, and even where distances between bus stops are long.
“I am convinced that hybrid buses will dominate city traffic globally in a few years’ time and Volvo has great prospects of becoming one of the largest suppliers of such buses.”
October 5, 2010
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