“A step change in environmental impact and improved passenger experience through noise reduction”
I was inspired on multiple fronts. It was evident why Volvo see hybrid technology as the future of mainstream public transport. The longest bus routes in Melbourne, the 901/2/3 routes, see vehicles on the road for up to 5-6 hours. Without cost prohibitive infrastructure upgrades such times and distances would not be possible with electric alone. The Volvo’s battery is charged during breaking, which for anyone who has travelled on a suburban bus route particularly with a pram is something that happens a lot!
Much of the time the diesel and electric motors run in tandem, with excess power from the diesel engine acting like a generator when not required to propel the vehicle. The stop-start, low speed nature of many suburban bus routes lends itself perfectly to the capability of an electric system with the diesel providing back up when required. In the case of the Latrobe Valley the buses also transverse the freeway where the acceleration provided by the diesel is essential.
Bus operators from afar afield as Tasmania and Bayside were represented as were Volvo buses international and Public Transport Victoria (PTV); the excitement was palatable. In an industry who by their very operation connect people to health services, education, community and so much more, it was invigorating to hear that there is such significant and economically attractive steps that can be taken to reduce the environmental impact (the new buses are greater than 30% more efficient).