Volvo Buses’ plug-in hybrid buses — which the company says reduce fuel consumption by at least 75 percent compared with diesel buses — will hit the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden this month as part of a field test.
Volvo says the plug-in technology will reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by 75 to 80 percent, compared with current diesel buses, and reduce total energy consumption by about 60 percent.
The purpose of the field test is to study and verify the anticipated reductions in energy consumption and emissions, and compile information about the buses.
Volvo Buses also says it expects to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent by using biodiesel instead of standard diesel oil in the combustion engine.
The plug-in hybrids are based on Volvo Buses’ 7900 hybrid, the company says. The plug-in hybrids have been further developed and enable recharging from electricity grids via a collector installed on the roof.
The plug-in buses have a larger battery package, making it possible to drive up to 70 percent of the distance, approximately 7 km at a time, emission-free using electricity. The batteries are charged at the bus terminus for between six and 10 minutes, the company says.
Volvo Buses expects to start manufacturing commercial plug-in hybrids in a couple of years. A demonstration project has also been planned for 2014 involving eight plug-in hybrids in Stockholm.
Should the operator need to put the bus in operation on a line with no charging stations, the plug-in hybrid will function the same as current hybrid buses, which means customers can invest in the plug-in technology without having access to a fully developed network of charging stations.
In February, Volvo Buses’ North American subsidiary, Nova Bus, received an order for 475 hybrid buses from Quebec, Canada, with an option for a further 1,200 vehicles. The customer, ATUQ, is a consortium consisting of the province’s nine transit authorities. Delivery of the 475 LFS HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) buses will start in 2014.