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Volvo Buses developing a fast-charging plug-in hybrid bus; charging equipment at end stations of bus lines

Volvo Buses is currently developing a plug-in hybrid bus that can drive long distances silently and exhaust-free on only electricity. Three buses will be tested in Gothenburg, Sweden, supported by the European Union.

The plug-in hybrid bus, supported by authorities including the Swedish Energy Agency, is essentially the same Volvo hybrid bus as today (earlier post) but equipped with a large battery pack an on-board charging equipment.

The concept is based on placing battery charging stations at the end stations of the bus lines. By charging the battery there for five to ten minutes, it could significantly extend the time that the bus is able to operate only on electricity.

(In April, a collaboration between the companies Hybricon AB, Opbrid SL, e-Traction BV, Umeå Energi AB and the Umeå City Corporation began testing a fast rechargeable hybrid bus. The “Arctic Whisper’s” batteries will be fast charged by the Opbrid Bůsbaar (earlier post) for 5-10 minutes at the end of its route to achieve nearly 100% all-electric operation but with the reliability of diesel. Earlier post.)

This could support distances of up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). It can be controlled so that the bus operates on electricity in densely populated areas or in particularly sensitive environmental areas, while the diesel engine can be used on other parts of the route.

Volvo Buses expects to have a prototype bus ready for testing in 2011. The next step will be taken in autumn 2012, when a field test will commence in Gothenburg using three chargeable hybrid buses. The buses will be put in service with passengers.

The field test project will be implemented in cooperation with Business Region Göteborg, the Traffic Office inGothenburgCity, Västtrafik and Göteborgs Energi, which will be responsible for the charging stations. Last week, the project was granted a subsidy of €1.4 million (US$2 million) from the EU’s program that supports environmental ventures, Life+.

Volvo Buses has so far sold more than 250 conventional hybrid buses, which are reducing fuel consumption by up to 35%.



This is a good interim solution. As hybrid buses get larger battery packs, the need for an on-board genset diminishes and eventually will cease to be needed. Upgrading this PHEVs to BEVs when better batteries are available should not be costly.


This is a huge announcement by Volvo. It marks the first time a major bus manufacturer has committed to using grid electricity to power their buses. This will change urban buses forever. Certainly, all electric would be ideal, but a fast charged hybrid, charged at the end stations, is much more flexible. If a charge is missed for example, the bus just continues on as a hybrid. However, typical operation can be almost 100% electric, depending on the route when charging is available.

The Volvo bus is also unique in that it is a parallel hybrid that can run in all-electric mode, partial electric/diesel, or full diesel. This means that the battery pack can be run down almost completely before turning on the diesel, which in turn means that a smaller battery can be used as opposed to a serial hybrid.

Finally, the cost should be very competitive, as Volvo intends to use this same powertrain in all it's heavy duty products, including long distance trucks. Sure, you can't charge trucks typically, but it will help the cost be lower through mass production of the hybrid drivetrain.


Nice trend, but <1B barrels biofuel vs 38B oil annual(top 10 countries only

It will take >10% for biofuels to have sustained impact.


Wrong article..

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