The first five months 2012 Volvo has sold more hybrid buses in Europe than accumulated during the last two years. In total we have now sold more than 650 hybrids with the award-winning Volvo in-house parallel hybrid technology. It is very encouraging to see how many operators and cities that make efforts to lower the fuel consumption and environmental load.
After the initial euphoria concerning the dramatic fuel saving (and that the Volvo hybrids actually deliver the savings more or less independently of the duty cycle) we now find many different arguments for the increasing interest for our hybrid buses. Increasing numbers of cities show interest in the Volvo hybrid buses for the silent (electric) start from the bus stop. The increased capacity allowing less buses transporting more passengers in combination are the main drivers for this development.
From inauguration of hybrid buses in Hamburg. Photo by Torsten Wulf.
Recently, Hamburg held an inauguration at Hamburger Hochbahn (read the German summary here) . Their daughter companies Jasper and Süderelbe will operate the buses. Hamburger Hochbahn is well known for their professional operations, a benchmark in Europe. The passenger ratio is raising and the cost coverage beyond 80% is among the highest in Europe. The combination of high appreciation by passengers and good economy is achieved by professionalism in every step from the ticket machine to the workshop.
Göteborgsvarvet is a yearly event in the home town of Volvo. This year 44 090 persons completed the 21 km race through the city of Göteborg. I and all my Volvo colleagues were challenged by our CEO Olof Persson. Running, dancing, swimming, skiing or whichever physical activity you prefer, they all strengthen the health and quality of life. And, as it turns out in recent cognitive research, also strengthen the mind.
I have been participating in Göteborgsvarvet about ten times, distributed over the years. This year I had prepared better than most years. Our dog is now a bit more than 3 years and overactive. She drags me out every morning for a run. Dogs also have very little respect for Sunday mornings. On the contrary, she expects at least 15 km in the forest, before breakfast.
Unfortunately, I got asthma from the blooming of the trees a few days before the race and had to cancel. Still I went to the start as a spectator. A friend who is a doctor and a health freak said that this is really ideal – do all the training but refrain from the race. His theory was that the extreme exertion experienced during competition causes damage.
Surely physical exercise, races like Göteborgsvarvet and challenges from the management keeps me motivated. Next year I will be back.
Some say that Europe need to become fore runners in public transports. However, many cities in the world are moving rapidly now.
In February the Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, proclaimed the four commandments for future cities.
And yes, you probably guessed it – commandment #1 is to make the city environmentally friendly and green. Here is the condensed list.
A city of the future has to:
1. become environmentally friendly; green, green and green.
2. deal with transportation and mobility of the people
3. be socially integrated providing essential and public services to all parts of the city
4. use modern technology to control and govern the city, regarding traffic control, social welfare, power supply, adaptation to weather, etc.
Latin America is in many ways leading the way in the area of public transports in big cities. Spend some 20 minutes to watch Eduardo’s presentation at TED.
Recently Volvo Hybrid buses were taken into service by Metrobùs in line 4 in Mexico City. Attractiveness, accessibility and environment are the leading principles. Volvo is very proud to be a part of this success in one of the most challenging transport assignments in the world. Here is an updated excise in Español that I just got from Jorge Suarez, my colleague in Mexico.