The last couple of days I have been visiting Stockholm and the Volvo Ocean Race event. Being an old sailor I find the V70 yachts fundamentally spectacular. And, the incredible speed they achieve is truly thrilling.
Any way, I spent my time at our seminars connected to the event. We have now statistics from real traffic on the 7700 hybrid and on the Euro V bus range. For the 7700 hybrid we read fuel consumption improvement between 25 and 35 % relative to the standard 7700 diesel bus delivered today. For most European city buses the fuel consumption decrease will be 30%. This makes it a competitor for all standard buses and not just for special hybrid fleets. As for the Euro V buses the first results indicate a substantial improvement in fuel consumption on all engines. Let me come back with specific statistics.
Next I will go on vacation, as mostly to spend the time with the family on our sailboat in the Bohuslän archipelago!
Short after the arrival to Frankfurt, Sunday evening the 14th of June, the sky opened and the rain poured down. The lightning chased me through the city to Eschborn village. At the Hotell I met with Per-Martin Johansson, responsible for press relations.
The following two days we had a packed schedule presenting and riding the hybrid bus in Frankfurt traffic conditions. During the two days we had a broad pallet of weather conditions from freezing temperatures and rain attacks to excessive heat under blue skies and sun.
An issue that has not had much attention so far is the impact of the economical crisis. Even if the operators will have pay-back in 5-7, will there be enough money to invest? In the short time perspective incentives are welcome under present situation.
This years UITP congress is speckled with hybrid buses. So far, only Volvo offers a parallel hybrid. In addition Volvo is the only bus supplier ready to take orders and to supply an industrialised solution (i.e. not prototype status).
Tuesday morning most bus manufacturers spoke about their serial hybrids. As I previously written about in the blog there are plenty of arguments for choosing the parallel technology: fuel consumption in a wide range of applications, bus weight and passenger capacity, emissions, silent start, operation up-time and reliability, just to mention some.
The transmission system suppliers at UITP announce that they will be ready to supply the parallel hybrid systems within a few years. Except for Volvo of course, that already have the in-house developed system in industrialised production. It is now openly acknowledged, by the automotive suppliers, that the parallel hybrid concept will become the preferred bus technology of choice, just as it manifested it superior properties already in the car business.
Last night, I went to the Grinsing suburb to experience the local Heurigen wine with some colleagues and operators. A great experience, that however not is to recommend as a warm-up for the morning jogging, where I got toasted by my colleague Maria Karlsson.
In the struggle of offering the most environmental friendly public transports, life cycle analysis is a good tool for comparing concepts.
In order find the most favourable rout from energy source to public transport vehicles, the chain of energy conversion from well-to-wheel is analysed.
In this way it is possible to justify the use of green energy. Often however it is forgotten that the green energy, today might be used in an even more efficient way by other energy consumers with less resources. According to IEA the energy use globally will increase by 50% the next 20-30 years. In parallel FAO forecasts a need for production of twice as much food as we use today globally.
Favourable paths from well-to-wheel are not hard to find by “tunnel view” disregarding the indirect consequence for other energy consumers.
For example, biomass in general will for many years to come have efficient use in the combined heat and power generation. To point out the public transport sector to pirate whichever energy source that is considered to be the most environmentally friendly choice for the time being will on one hand be counter productive since it will raise the cost for the public transports and hence limit the amount offered, on the other hand for buses it will in the first approximation not make much harm either, since its by far the most energy efficient way to provide transports of persons. The positive side of the interest in biofuels is that an increased interest in sustainable energy in general in the long time perspective will increase the production.
But, we do not need to perform the full lifecycle analysis for the planet as a whole before we act. By knowing that the energy market is very “volatile” saying that the one selling energy readily will sell it to the one paying the highest price, as a bus manufacturer we can focus on providing the most energy efficient bus. By providing less energy use, we ensure that the bus we provide also make a positive environmental impact on the global level!
Bus life cycle environmental cost (with costs from the new European directive for “Promotion of green and energy efficient vehicles”). The Volvo 7700 Hybrid will use 30 % less energy for most city buses. In the picture above we use 20% reduction of the fuel consumption to cover also commuter traffic. The “City Bus” is a standard diesel bus.