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Volvo developing plug-in hybrid bus [Oct 2011]

Volvo Buses is 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.Volvo currently has the world’s most efficient hybrid solution for buses and trucks. Volvo Buses has sold more than 250 hybrid buses, which are reducing fuel consumption by up to 35 per cent and thus also reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by an equal amount.Supported by authorities including the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo is developing a plug-in hybrid bus. It is essentially the same Volvo hybrid bus as today, where the brake energy is recycled and utilised by the electric motor. But, with a new type of battery and charging equipment it will also be possible to charge the battery via the electricity network.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. This could entail distances of up to ten kilo metres, with the corresponding advantages in the form of silent traffic with no local emissions. 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. This technology will generate considerable opportunities to significantly reduce energy consumption. The reason is that electric engines have very high efficiency.“We expect to be able to reduce the energy consumption in a city bus by up to 65 per cent compared with today’s diesel buses,” says Volvo Buses CEO Håkan Karlsson. “And, the plug-in hybrid bus will be able to reduce diesel consumption and thus carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 75 per cent.”

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