UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2017 in Montreal

This year’s UITP congress brought me three insights and one award.

Insight 1: Electromobility is beyond the tipping point
Cities, bus manufacturers, bus operators all had the same message: “We are now going to implement electromobility”. Hybrid, plug-in hybrids or electric buses are preferred depending on the operational demands.
Not many months ago some cities still talked about Euro VI diesel and gas. At the UITP congress it was different. Cities talk about either a date from which they will purchase only buses with electric or hybrid drives, or they talk about a date from which their full fleet will be converted to electromobility.
Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses, has since long positioned Volvo for an electric future. Nova Bus is our North American brand. We are proud of Nova Bus and how we deal with the public transport challenges in North America.

Nova electric bus LFSe

Nova electric bus LFSe

oppcharge fast charging station

Oppcharge fast charging station




Insight 2: Charging technology is harmonized by OppCharge
I presented the OppCharge interface for charging at one of the sessions. I talked about electric charging technology and how a common technology will make it easier for cities to find several suppliers of both buses and infrastructure for charging.
In 2012, Volvo was at a cross road. We started the development of the plug-in and electric buses that we offer today.
We were in dialogue with lots of cities and they all said the same. They wanted:
i)    A charging system with high reliability
ii)    A charging system that was affordable
iii)    A charging system that could be supplied by many charging system suppliers and that was used by many bus suppliers

We developed OppCharge together with Siemens and later also with ABB to deliver  what the cities asked for. Now the community supporting OppCharge has grown and the list is found on the homepage.


The OppCharge Trademark is freely available for licensees.


Insight 3: Autonomous vehicles have social challenges
Two different autonomous vehicles were demonstrated outside the Congress Centre. An area around the public square in front of the Palais des Congres was fenced off for the demonstrations. The autonomous cabin loaded people on one side of the square and dropped them on the other side.
So far so good, the interesting part was the behavior of the pedestrians that did not ride with the vehicle. The vehicle had to pass two zebra crossings. As I stood there watching the vehicle moving, the pedestrians walked in closely in front of the vehicle. The vehicle stopped, as it should. Most of them seemed to rely on that the vehicle would see them and stop. This pattern was repeated more or less every time the zebra crossing was passed. It seems that pedestrians respect autonomous vehicles much less than vehicles with human drivers.

Award: UITP Awards 2017 in the category Operational and Technical Excellence
When the winners of the UITP Awards 2017 were announced the Gothenburg camp exploded with joy.

Electricity has in total 15 partners and the prize winners were represented by Public Transport Authority Västtrafik and Volvo Buses.

ElectriCity wins UITP awards 2017

Hans Ramér,Volvo Buses (in the middle) and Roger Vahnberg,Västtrafik (to the right) representing the ElectriCity project partners at the award ceremony in Montreal, Wednesday the 17th of May.

The motivation was: multi-stakeholder electric bus demonstration project implemented in Gothenburg (Sweden) on public transport line 55, connecting two university campuses. This project successfully integrates all elements of modern bus-based mobility solutions and points to the future of bus services worldwide. Its innovative technology is deployed in real operation conditions and it is perfectly integrated in the public transport system.

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More than 7 000 visitors

Gotheburg has become a must and worth-a-journey for public transport authorities and bus operators from all over the world.

Volvo 7900 Electric Bus Göteborg

The Volvo Bus Experience Center has hosted visits of more than 7000 persons from all over the world. Who would have guessed that, when the center was inaugurated less than two years ago?

Volvo Bus Experience Center Arendal Göteborg

Additional visitors can be counted when the visits to the partners in the ElectriCity [http://www.goteborgelectricity.se/ ] project are included (e.g. Göteborg Energi, Keolis, Västtrafik and Chalmers University of Technology).

ElectriCity Partners Göteborg

ElecriCity partners

Often visitors meet with several of the partners in the ElectriCity project. The open cooperative atmosphere is an appreciated asset. It’s all about openly and jointly sharing our experiences.

Volvo 7900 Electric Bus Göteborg 2

Linje 55 crosses the heart of Gothenburg

Linje 55 traveller

Travelers appreciate the free Wifi and the USB charging availability

Volvo 7900 Electric Christmas Bus

The Chruistmas bus created headlines in many ways

Silent Bus Sessions Seinabo SeySilent Bus Sessions Zara Larsson

Linje 55 is silent. There is often something going on. Rock stars such as Seinabo Sey and Zara Larsson have entertained the passengers.


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6th Edition of the Volvo Sustainable Mobility Awards

Another year has passed and the ceremony for the 6th  Edition of the Volvo Sustainable Mobility Awards was held in New Delhi the 12th of January.

The guests were welcomed by Volvo Bus President Håkan Agnevall who hosted the meeting together with Volvo Bus Senior Vice president Akash Passey and Managing Director Volvo India, Vrv Sripasad.

As last year, the morning session contained seminars and panel debates with distinguished guests. The sessions were moderated by Mr.  V Ravichandar, Chairman Feedback Consulting. Some of the important speakers and panelists included Abhay Damle, Joint, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy Resources Institute, Mr. Girish Shankar, Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Durga Shanker Mishra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development.

The award distribution ceremony took place in the evening.

The work of the jury was particularly hard this year with 50 excellent contributions. The contributions had an equal mix of private and public sector individuals and organisations. In all, 32 contributions were shortlisted.

Together with myself the jury members were:
Dr. OP Agarwal, Executive Director, Indian School of Business, Mohali
Prof. Geetam Tiwari, TRIPP Chair Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Sanjay Sridhar, Regional Director, S Asia and W Asia, C40 Cities
Amit Bhat, Strategy Head, Integrated Urban Transport, EMBARQ India
Ashwin Mahesh Co-Founder Mapunity & Lithium
Prof. TG Sitharam, Senior Professor, Civil Engg. Indian Institute of Science

Four contributions were selected for special recognitions

1) Udaipur Municipal Corporation was recognized for their project People centric restructuring of streets and intersections

The Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC) along with a few  partners has initiated mobility improvements on one of the most important corridors in the city, which comprises multiple intersections spaced at a marginal distance ranging from 700 to 900 Mts. The streets and intersections along the corridor have been re-designed to prioritise the movement of people over movement of vehicles.
Award winners were: Mr. Sidharth Sihag, Municipal Commissioner, Udaipur Municipal Commissioner along with other partners for the project.

2)  Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation was recognized for their project Route Planning for Efficient Mobility

The main objective of this project of BMTC is to provide public transport through a mix of services tailored to suit different travel requirements of all sections of the society. They fall under different categories depending on different parameters of bifurcation made on 1. Range and 2. Brand. Technology has been used to achieve optimal outcomes.
Award winner was: Dr. Ekroop Caur, Managing Director, Bengaluru  Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

3) Karnal Police contributed with a project called Sanjhi Cycle

A Public bicycle sharing (PBS) launched in a small city is an opportunity to exhibit how cities should incorporate a sustainable transport system with minimal investment and increased accessibility without dependence on motorised transport. On June 22, the first phase of public bicycle sharing was launched with 200 cycles in 18 docking stations.
The representative did not attend, hence, VRV Sriprasad accepted the award on his behalf

4) Oasis Designs Inc. was recognized for their project Multimodal Integration at Chattarpur Metro Station

This project will be contributing to improving the last mile connectivity within a 2 kilometre zone of all Metro Stations to help people optimize travel trips in terms of time and money and providing efficient, comfortable and safe connectivity for all users.
The award winners were: Mr. Akash Hingorani, Principal – Architecture, Public Realm Design and Master Planning, Oasis Designs Inc and Ms. Sujata Hingorani, Principal Landscape architect.

Two runners up were awarded with cash prizes:

SaveLIFE Foundationwas awarded for their project A “Good Samaritan” Law for India
SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) took up the issue of bystander care through advocacy and litigation with the aim to provide a legal and ethical framework that encourages bystanders to help injured persons on the road. SLF filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court in 2012, and the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment to provide legal, national-wide policy protection for Good Samaritans who help injured persons on the road on 30th March 2016, a policy which can potentially save up to 70,000 lives a year.


Akash Passey, Håkan Agnevall with the Award Winners: Mr. Shaji Cherian, India Director, Operations at SaveLIFE foundation and Mr. Aditya Nayan, Global Engagement Manager


U+ Collective was awarded for their project Re-Humanising Industrial Streetscapes
This project attempts to design and develop an industrial estate in Nasik, as a model for the first ever “Smart Industrial Area” in India. It strives to transform its current ‘transit priority’ streetscape into a more vibrant and habitable urban realm for the diverse user base of industries and people.


Håkan Agnevall, Akash Passey with the award winners:  Ms. Ojashree Sarda



And, the winner was…



Citizens for Sustainability (CiFoS) who was awarded for their project Inclusive Mobility
To promote the use of sustainable modes like walking and cycling to school for children and adults. CiFoS is now working with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport on the project “Neighbourhood Improvement Plan (mobility) Sanjaynagar” to provide better transport infrastructure for sustainable modes. (Mr. Subbaiah TS, representative CiFoS)


Akash Passey, Håkan Agnevall and award winner Mr. Subbaiah TS, representative CiFoS


Personally, I’m deeply impressed by the power of initiatives of individuals, authorities and citizen groups in India. From European perspective, the bike sharing initiative made by the Kanal Police department, shows that progress and constructive thinking may come from a un expected direction, acting at the periphery of the official mandate. This is very inspiring. Last year the Crosswalk lab impressed us by doing full scale testing during rush hours in critical crossings. This year the SaveLIFE Foundation didn’t wait for a potentially slow federal process. A “Good Samaritan” law has now been introduced in about half of the states of India. And, this years award winner CiFoS, did not wait and see. By actively promoting walking and biking to school, even though conditions were not yet ideal, an improved street environment has been enforced and accelerated as the need became evident.

Those actions and the energy it releases impresses me.


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Diesel vehicles will be removed from Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens by 2025

At the C40 meeting in Mexico City Mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens join forces and ban diesel by 2025.

As Diesel, Gasoline and Gas nowadays are meeting the same emission legislation in leading cities around the world one may argue that banning diesel leads to sub optimization. That may increase the number of gasoline and gas vehicles that cause equal amounts of air quality pollution and this to a cost of higher energy use and less reliable operation. However, that argument misses the point. Banning diesel is communicated as the first step in a larger plan.

As Miguel Ángel Mancera Mayor of Mexico City says: “By expanding alternative transportation options like our Bus Rapid Transport and subway systems, while also investing in cycling infrastructure, we are working to ease congestion in our roadways and our lungs”.

The idea is: “Keep it simple.”

Paris has become famous in Europe for the smog peaks that in turn have led to a ban on using private cars the days when the air quality index peaks at hazardous levels. Anne Hidalgo is determined to do something about it. And, now announced the plan to ban diesel completely by 2025.

Volvo is very proud to be the only solution provider that can meet the requirement of providing hybrid as well as electric buses. In fact we have foreseen exactly this development and can now offer the complete product line of: 7900 Hybrid; 7900 Electric Hybrid and 7900 Electric buses


Mayors ride Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid bus at C40: Håkan Agnevall (Volvo Bus), Eduardo Paes (Rio de Janeiro), Anne Hidalgo (Paris), Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), Miguel Ángel Mancera (Mexico City), Honorable Wong (Hong Kong).


Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid bus is for cities what the Swiss Army Knife is for hikers, the tool you can’t live without. It charges electricity rapidly from the grid at the terminals. It runs electrically when you want it to (without action by the driver, by Volvo proprietary Zone Management system) and you can use it in hybrid mode in rush hours or at any route without electric infrastructure when that is needed. It’s a reliable workhorse that operates 24/7.


Mayors use public transports in general and electric Volvo buses in particular in Mexico City.

By being a complete system provider (of any bus but low floor diesel and gas buses) Volvo Bus don’t have to push cities and operators to specific solutions that hazard the operation. Use the hybrid where electric infrastructure is not preferred, the electric hybrid where electrification is needed and versatility is a prerequisite and the electric bus simply when this is preferred. We can offer all or any and they are compatible in workshops, operation and infrastructure.



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Inauguration of a new OPPCharge station

Last week, a new Charging station was inaugurated in Göteborg.

It took place at a spot close to the southern archipelago of Gothenburg.

vingaPhoto of Vinga viewed from Vrångö

The OPPCharge community has now grown to 16 automatic fast chargers. For Volvo, the new charging station confirms that the Volvo electric buses can charge from chargers from two OPPCharge suppliers, Siemens and ABB. Previously Siemens has demonstrated that their charger is compatible with both Volvo and Solaris electric buses.

OPPCharge is:

  • An open interface for automatic fast charging of vehicles
  • OPPCharge stations so far have been providing, 150, 300 and 450 kW
  • All moving parts are integrated in the charging station
  • Conductive static charging by pantograph
  • Communication by Wifi with directed antenna
  • Charging from -25 °C to +45 °C
  • Volvo Cooperates with ABB and Siemens for charging infrastructure


This charger is the first in a series of 8 that ABB is about to deliver for charging Volvo buses.

In a near future we are about to deliver:

  • 31 Electric Hybrid buses and
  • 7 charging stations together with ABB.

It is Luxemburg and Namur that are about to start electric/plug-in bus services.


Electric buses are energy efficient and sustainable. Electric buses in Göteborg use: 1.05 kWh per kilometer yearly average.

The local windmill, big Glenn, can produce a maximum of 4 MW a windy day. This is enough to supply 750 electric buses with electricity. Big Glenn produces enough energy on a yearly basis to supply 150 Electric buses in Göteborg traffic with electricity.


The OPPCharge station was inaugurated by Robert Larsson (ABB), Håkan Agnevall (Volvo Bus), Jenny Miltell (ABB) and myself.

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ElectriCity 1 year


The ElectriCity partnership has been underway in Gothenburg, Sweden since 2013. The 14 partners have summarized their experiences so far in a report.

ElectriCity is about:

A new bus route – route 55 – with electric buses operating in the centre of Gothenburg.

A demo arena for new bus stop solutions, transport management systems, safety concepts and networked technology and systems for energy supplies and storage, for example.

A platform for research into urban planning and building, technological development and behaviour patterns.

A source of inspiration and motivation for future urban development.


The bus route is speckled by innovation and the impact on the attractiveness is evident.


The travelers appreciate the USB connections for charging mobile devices and the seamless* Wifi is rated top features among the travelers.

* Seamless means that the bus stops and the buses are providing one integrated net so that the travelers once logged on the first time will automatically access internet during the full journey from the bus stop to the destination.

Some features are more evident than others. Some are not even meant to be noticed. Nevertheless, my personal favorites:

Safe, silent and emission free zones:

The buses on route 55 are equipped with a zone management system which automatically controls the buses’ operation and speed in different areas. For example, the system ensures that the electric hybrid buses cannot enter the indoor bus stop with their diesel engines running and restricts their speed as they enter and leave.


The zone management system also covers other environments which the buses share with pedestrians and cyclists. In these areas, the buses have to operate at a low speed. For example, the system ensures a high level of road safety in the square between Teknikgatan and Lindholmsallén where there are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists. In the electric hybrid buses, zone management is used to specify the zero-emission areas where the buses have to operate quietly using electricity. In all the buses on route 55, the system is used to limit the buses’ speed in areas where there are large numbers of vulnerable road users.

The zone management system has been developed, implemented and tested on route 55. The drivers feel that the system supports them and helps them to focus on driving, which reduces the risk of stress and accidents.

Indoor Bus stop


The end bus stop on Teknikgatan in Lindholmen is indoors in an annex to an existing building. The annex has a glass facade and a sedum roof. Next door there is a café which helps to create a pleasant environment for passengers waiting for buses. The bus stop also has a USB port for charging mobile phones and there is a collection point for DHL parcels.

Fast Charging

The new concept of fast charging has been a breakthrough for electric buses. The automatic fast charging allows buses to top-up the battery at terminal stations. The life time of the battery is prolonged and the amount of battery required for the operation is reduced.

The new principle was developed with Siemens and has now been offered as an open platform to all bus manufacturers and charging system suppliers. The industry has embraced the OppCharge System.




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Smart Gas

No two cities are alike. But, they often share similar challenges. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to propose common concepts in a “city context”. Traditionally, we have focused on the bus and its impact. Going forward, the imperative would be to look holistically, into areas such as synergies between clean energy and waste management. The idea is to deliver energy sustainability without taking more out of depleting fossil fuels and food production.

Volvo and Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB have jointly researched a novel concept for smart cities over the last 6 months. On May 2, for the first time, Bengt Gudmundsson (Siemens) and I presented the concept of “Smart Gas” at the ‘India Unlimited’ Seminar organized by the Indian Embassy in Sweden along with some partners.

We feel that we have found a beautiful concept to improve quality of living in cities:

  • Wastes and sewage is an increasingly sanitary issue. Cities need to find methods to reuse wastes in efficient ways. By fermentation, wastes are converted to biogas and the remains become nitrogen rich fertilizer meant for agriculture.
  • Congestion is and increasingly an issue that amplifies the negative impacts of cars. Cities need to provide public transport alternatives that can compete with private cars when it comes to comfort and convenience for citizens. The new generation of fast charged electric buses have what it takes to attract car users. The eco-friendliness and ability to climb in steep inclinations (in contrary to rail bound alternatives) allows buses to use compact cost efficient tunnels to pass under congested crossings. Or why not run in metro-style tunnels in parts of the cities?
  • Air quality is improved radically by extremely low emissions at the power plant. The contribution to city smog becomes 100 times less than today and no emissions are let out in the air close to the travelers.
  • Noise is reduced by a great extent. This allows public transport to more effectively access residential districts.
  • Modern living in cities includes climate controlled apartments. Unfortunately, most commonly, apartments are equipped with small inefficient Air Conditioning units, frequently placed on the façade of the building facing sunlight. District cooling can increase efficiencies and bring forward astonishing energy synergies with gas turbine power generation.
  • Electric Power supply is a growing concern in most cities. Electrified transport solutions mostly become a strain for the electric grid. The smart gas concept is different. Firstly, it provides energy to the grid with very high energy efficiency. Secondly, the energy storage of the buses allows for smart grid controls. The smart charging station can allow the grid to ramp-up or down charging second-by-second to compensate for other loads in the grid.

What is Smart Gas?

  • As a first step biogas is produced from wastes.
  • Delhi, India for example produces, 11,558 tons of wastes that generates about 500 tons of biogas.
  • Wastes from agriculture can just as well be fed to the biogas production plant.
  • As a byproduct from the bio gas production there is an equivalent amount, 500 tons, of bio fertilizer.
  • If it were to be required, natural gas can back up biogas production.
  • The enriched biogas can be used as fuel for a combined cycle power plant to generate both electricity and district cooling with a total efficiency of 87 percent. The electric power generated from 500 tons of biogas at an ambient temperature of 30C is 130 MW and the district cooling power is 120 MW. The ratio between generation of electric power and cooling can be optimized depending on the specific requirements.
  • District cooling can be used for any housing cooling purpose. If applied to apartments it is sufficient to cool 3,50 000 apartments of 100 m2.
  • The 130 MW electricity generated by the biogas can be used to drive 20 000 Volvo electric buses.

Smart Gas Concept

  • That means the Smart Gas electricity can drive four times as many buses or correspondingly longer distances for the same number of buses as compared to a situation where bio gas is directly used to drive buses.
  • An air conditioned electric bus in Delhi will use 1.8 kWh electricity per km while the corresponding gas bus uses 7 kWh CNG per kilometer.
  • Each bus has an energy storage battery of at least 75 kWh.
  • This opens up endless opportunities for smart grids
  • The bus can be connected to the grid over night or be charged at terminals while waiting for passengers
  • The on-board energy buffer and a variable charge power of 0 to 300 kW allows us to charge the bus with suitable power that the grid can provide.

We have demonstrated the undoubted gains of the novel concept of Smart Gas from wastes to smart grids, electric buses and district cooling.

But, how about city smog?

Smart Gas Emissions

Today exhaust gases from buses are let out on in the street level. In the graph to the left we compare emissions of the most modern Euro VI buses with the Smart Gas bus.

If that is not striking enough, we should see the comparison with the existing gas bus fleet in Delhi. The gains are at least fivefold higher!

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