Volvo says it is developing a plug-in hybrid bus that can drive long distances silently and exhaust-free on only electricity. Three buses will be tested soon in Gothenburg, Sweden, supported by the European Union.
To date, Volvo Buses has sold more than 250 hybrid buses, which reduce fuel consumption by up to 35%. The new plug-in hybrid bus is essentially the same Volvo hybrid bus as today, where the brake energy is recycled and utilized 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 grid.
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 10 minutes, it could significantly extend the time that the bus is able to operate only on electricity, the company says.
Volvo Buses expects to have a prototype bus ready for testing by the end of the year. The next step will be taken in autumn 2012, when a field test will commence in Gothenburg using three chargeable, in-service hybrid buses.