Today I have the pleasure to great Jörgen Sjöstedt, product director for the Americas, welcome in the blog. Jörgen visited COP15 in Copenhagen while I was occupied making life cycle cost calculations in our office in Gothenburg. The remaining content of this blog is thus from Jörgen:
In the midst of the hectic COP15 I had the pleasure to share a ride in our Volvo Hybrid together with Deysi, Fernando and Mario from Transmilenio, Bogota.
They were in Copenhagen for the Climate conference as part of the group representing the Colombian government. In Colombia they are the ones managing the Transmilenio BRT system, transporting roughly 1.6 million passengers daily.
With good support from my Danish Volvo colleagues we managed to jump on the Volvo Hybrid running the COP15 route from Bella Centre to downtown. The vehicle worked excellently, without any disturbances. I was struck by the smoothness at the silent take off’s and our visitors were equally impressed. They could quickly translate to what this could mean in Bogota where engines work hard at the high altitude (2600m) and often emit quite a lot of smoke at take off.
The Transmilenio system started in 2001 and the initiator, equally the Mayor at that time, Enrique Peñalosa, was recently awarded the Enviromental Prize of Gothenburg for the benefits the system has brought to the society.
Transmilenio is expanding with all sorts of buses including articulated and bi-articulated. They have a genuine interest in further improvement of the city environment and is highly interested in what the hybrid technology can bring in as benefits for Bogota. For example the performance of the Volvo hybrid system at high altitude are of interest.
After the ride in the bus we had once again to face the freezing winds of Copenhagen. Good thing that the batteries have an active temperature control heating them days like this. Now we are more convinced what our hybrids can deliver!
Shanghai is, as far as I’m aware the first city in the world to run fully electric Super Capacitor buses. Rout 11 run through downtown Shanghai with a total of 17 Super Cap Buses. The principle is simple. The bus is similar to a trolley bus but super capacitors are charged at the bus stop rather than having the power cord infrastructure in the air all over the city. I visited the rout yesterday and in particular one of the charging stations. Unfortunately, it got dark before I got there and the photography is not that informative.
Super cap bus charging station, the arrow points at a small spark visible at the moment of releasing the contactor.
When the bus stops at the bus stop a T-shaped connector is raised to touch two connector rods that are fixed under a small roof reaching out over the bus. The connector rods stretch a few meters along the bus stop and the positioning of the bus does thus not need to be very precise. The charging takes just some 30 seconds. The charging typically takes place very third bus stop. Which means that the bus run about 1.5 km between the charging occasions.
Today, I visited the Sunwin factory. Its the largest bus plant I been to. This is where all the Shanghai Volvo B7RLE City buses are made. I felt really proud when seing all the Volvos in the streets. Without knowing for sure I believe Shanghai must be the city with most Volvos in the world. Most of the production is focused on low entry Volvo and Sunwin city buses but also coaches are on the programme. Among the city buses a broad programme is offered: diesel buses, natural gas buses, hybrid buses and super capacitor buses.
Inside a new super cap bus, in the background Toni Fast production manager and Hans Persson development manager stand.
A new Sunwin gas bus.
My fascination for the electric bike trend in China never ends. In a standard western style super market I found a broad offer of different electrical bikes. The smaller, reminding of standard bikes, run in about 20 km/h while the electric scooters make about 50 km/h and have a range of 50 km. The smaller cost about €100 while the premium scooter cost €300. This should be compared to a scooter with a 4 stroke 50 cc engine that costs €500. The electric trend is thus driven by the lower price both for the vehicle and for the fuelling.
Electric bike sale in the super market.
This morning I went jogging in the Century Park. The silence, the birds and the greetings of the morning joggers are similar in many parks in big cities around the world. My lap along the winding paths in the periphery was 5 km. The public gymnastic and chi-gong groups are special in China. Already at dawn old friends gathered around a cd player, set to a barely hear able level. The moves are conducted slowly and jointly.
Disney style bushes in the Century Park.
The last days I visited the “Green Fleet World 2009″ conference in Shanghai. The conference was organised by Trade Association of Shanghai Communications and Transportation and Global Leaders Institute by support from the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority and Shanghai Urban Construction & Communications authorities.
The conference discussed different options for environmental actions. The question was not if more actions should be introduced but rather which technologies to prioritise. The main challenge for Shanghai as described by Mrs Tang, is the increasing energy use. This is mainly due to more cars.
Shanghai will be introducing Euro IV emission standards for HD vehicles from March next year, while the fuel standards are not as strict as required for Euro IV in Europe. I see this discrepancy as a problem for several reasons. Even if Sulphur is not a limiting factor for reaching the emission standards at the certification it is known to impact the ageing of the emission control systems. It is furthermore contributing to the health impact by SOx emissions. I simply see no good reason for not introducing the corresponding fuel alongside with the emission legislation. Don’t take me wrong. I’m not advocating for delaying the introduction of Euro IV in Shanghai. Low sulphur fuel can be introduced with very short lead times as shown in Sweden in the mid 1980ties.
Mrs Sophie Tong was the responsible organiser for the Green Fleet Conference, here next to me.
This morning I took a walk in the streets close to the Hotell. The streets in Shanghai are generally better planed than in Europe. In most new areas you find the pedestrians in broad and open side walks, the two wheelers (mostly fully electric) separated from the cars by a green fence and the cars and buses in the middle of the road. At some parts of the streets the buses have separate lanes, this could however be developed in the direction of BRT systems to give the public transports higher priority.
In the crossing of Yingchun road and Fangdiang road I found a small fully electric vehicle for carrying garbage. When do we see this type of electric carriers in Europe?