Volvo Starts Testing first Electric Hybrid Bus in Hamburg

Volvo Electric Hybrid Bus 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
According to European Union studies, noise pollution has a negative effect on life quality, increasing stress levels and sleep disorders for around 110 million people living in large busy cities. Considering this, the European Noise Directive was created in 2002 to investigate and manage environmental noise as well as provide guidelines to public authorities.
The effort of creating quieter cities is now joined by Volvo, which just started testing out its first plug-in hybrid electric buses in Hamburg, Germany. They have a special route in the city for that, known as the Innovation Line 109, which is reserved for new sustainable technologies like this.

Each hybrid bus that started hauling passengers this month is fitted with a 19 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that feeds a 150 kW electric motor that counts in for a massive 1,200 Nm (885 lb-ft) of torque, all working in complete silence for about 7 to 10 km (4.3 - 3.2 miles).

More numbers

That’s the average distance between the charging points at the ends of the line where it takes only 6 minutes to recharge the battery pack and start it all over again. Even if it runs out of power in between the chargers, a high-efficiency 240 hp/918 Nm (677 lb-ft) Volvo D5K 240 four-cylinder diesel engine can kick in to provide thrust.

In this configuration, the bus saves about 60 percent more energy compared to a normal diesel burner one, lowering emissions by up to 80 percent. Of course, all these are true if the electricity in the grid comes from green sources, not coal burning.

Other benefits coming from a whole fleet of electric buses? Apart from a lower noise level, they could allow the city council develop special indoor bus stops. Waiting for the bus when it rains or snows suddenly doesn’t sound that bad now.

Hamburg officials said starting with 2020, only emission-free buses will be acquired for public transportation. Our opinion? All mass transit should be at least electric hybrids. And taxis are no exception. But then, we’ll have to wait a bit more for battery technology to advance so EVs come in as cheap as standard combustion-powered vehicles.

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