At the IAA exhibition in September Volvo Bus released information about the product line for 2014. All Euro VI low floor city buses will be sold with hybrids as standard.
To explain why we now take this step I need to say a few words about the history.
During 1940 and 1950 the number of motor vehicles increased rapidly in Europe and North America. The lethal accidents raised to unacceptable levels. Safety technology such as seat belts was offered as options and certainly made a difference for the ones choosing it. In 1959 Volvo introduced seat belts as standard for the Volvo Amazon. With the raising numbers Nils Bohlin could develop existing concepts to level that was practical and accepted. Today seatbelts comes as standard equipment for cars all over the world.
During the sixties air pollution became an increasing concern in most major cities. California was early out and decisions on air pollution standards were taken in 1969. Lots of interesting concepts were proposed and even offered as options, however the air quality did not improve much until Volvo introduced the three way catalyst as standard equipment in 1976. By choosing to go for three way catalysts as standard factory fit rather than optional choice, Stephen Wallman and his colleagues at Volvo could design injection system and engine control to take full advantage of the new technology. Within a few years all cars from all brands in the US were sold with electronic injection systems and three way catalysts as standard. It took another 14 years for the catalyst technology to become standard in Europe, this is however another story.
Today the EU 20 20 20 targets phrase our challenge in a binding legislation. We need to prioritize:
1, Redirect our energy use to sustainable sources
2, Lower emissions of greenhouse gases
3, Lower the energy use
The past three years Europe has been improving slightly when it comes to emissions of green house gases and sustainable energy use but the total energy use is still raising. Just like California once was struggling to meet their air quality targets Europe now struggles to restrict the energy runaway.
Volvo 7900 Hybrid is one of the buses in the low floor range that will be fited with hybrid drivetrain as standard.
The only logical solution to all three challenges is spelled hybridization. By introducing hybrid drivetrains as standard offers in Europe we now take the logical step. By choosing hybridization we can offer so much more than just a bus. Service and maintenance costs can be kept under control and emissions can be controlled more precisely when we have access to the electrical control.
The Volvo 7900 Hybrid makes the difference:
1, Sustainable and local energy usage is secured by compatibility with most biodiesel standards
2, 39-80% less greenhouse gases (39% with fossil diesel and about 80% with EU standard biodiesel, certified biodiesel could be even better)
3, 39% less energy use
In addition the electric start function gives less local emissions at bus stops.
It is obvious from history, when all parameters point in the same direction a paradigm shift is on its way. The extremely positive experiences the last three years with the Volvo hybrid buses has proven that hybrid buses are here to stay.
Therefore Volvo now takes the step and goes all-in for hybrid buses in Europe. Anyone interested in more details is free to contact me.