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Victoria Launches Australia’s First Trial of Hybrid-Electric Buses; Series and Parallel

The Grenda parallel hybrid (top) and the Ventura series hybrid (bottom). Click to enlarge.

The government of the state of Victoria has launched Australia’s first hybrid-electric bus trial. The A$500,000 trial (US$398,000) in Melbourne, which will involve buses on two outer suburban routes, will assess the viability of both parallel- and series-hybrid buses in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the public transport sector.

The Victorian government partnered with the Commonwealth government to fund the trial, which is being conducted with Grenda Corporation (parallel hybrid) and Ventura Buses (series hybrid).

We believe the hybrid-electric bus trial will show how improvements in transport technology can deliver air quality improvements and reduce our carbon emissions. It is estimated this hybrid-electric technology will provide a saving of around 20 per cent on fuel and greenhouse gas emissions compared to a conventional diesel bus. The trial will allow us to examine the financial, social and environmental effects from the use of this new technology on Melbourne’s roads.

—Gavin Jennings, Victoria Environment and Climate Change Minister

The trial will assess the performance of the buses in three areas:

  • Financial. Economic impacts will be assessed by evaluating the fuel and maintenance performance of the vehicles over an extended period of 12 months in service. The results will be expressed in terms of how they compare to ‘control’ vehicles operating on the same service routes (thereby protecting confidential information relating to the business structure for the two bus operators).

  • Environmental. Environmental impacts will be assessed through both fuel use and also emissions testing in a controlled-environment test. The test will utilise a chassis dynamometer using the SAE standard J2711 Recommended Practice for Measuring Fuel Economy and Emissions of Hybrid-Electric and Conventional Heavy-Duty Vehicles with the relevant Australian Composite Urban Emissions Drive Cycle (CUEDC), as developed for the Diesel Vehicle Emissions National Environment Protection Measure (Diesel NEPM).

  • Social. Social impacts will be assessed through some targeted market research of the passenger base. Market research will assess the experience and perceptions of the bus passengers, along with the outlook towards the introduction of new technologies into public transport applications.

Buses in the Victoria Hybrid Trial
 Series HybridParallel Hybrid
Operator Ventura Bus Lines Grenda Transit Management
Manufacturer Designline International Volgren
Body Aluminum super low floor bus Aluminum low-floor route bus
Engine Volkswagen TDI 2.0L Auxiliary Power Unit; Certified to ADR80/02 (Euro 4); Displacement 2.0 liters Cummins ISB 260; Certified to ADR80/03 (Euro 5); Cooled EGR; Diesel Particulate Filter; Max power 260 hp (194 kW); Max torque 841 N·m @ 1600 rpm; Displacement 6.7 liters
Chassis Designline Ecosaver IV Iveco LE City Hybrid
Electric drive Designline Ecosaver IV hybrid propulsion system (2 units); power 120 kW (160 hp) continuous, 190 kW (253 hp) peak Allison EV40 drive unit (2 units); Power 75 kW (100 hp) continuous, 150 kW (200 hp) peak
Energy storage Li-ion; 50 kWh capacity NiMH
Climate control Denso LD8i Thermoking Citi RT
Passenger capacity 42 seats + 2 wheelchair locations 44 seats


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