Victorian operators to trial diesel-electric hybrids

By: Graham Gardiner


The Victorian Government, in conjunction with private operators Grenda Group and Ventura, will kick off a 12-month trial of diesel-electric

The Victorian Government, in conjunction with private operators Grenda Group and Ventura, will kick off a 12-month trial of diesel-electric hybrid buses on June 28.

To be launched by Minister for Environment Gavin Jennings, the trial aims to reduce the "information barriers" to operators investing in lower-emission vehicle technologies, says Kristian Handberg, Senior Policy Officer – Transport in the Environmental Policy and Climate Change Division of the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

The "triple bottom line" results of the trial – that is, economic, environmental and social – will be made available to both operators as well as key decision makers in government, he adds.

Under the trial, Ventura will run a ‘series’ hybrid bus built by DesignLine in New Zealand in and around Melbourne’s CBD.

This type of hybrid engine uses batteries to run an electric motor which runs the bus. The current hybrids use a diesel engine to power the bus, with the help of an electric motor.

When batteries lose power on the new electric hybrid, a small turbine engine, powered by diesel, turns on to recharge the batteries.

In contrast, Grenda Group will trial a bus built by sister company Volgren that features and electric motor and diesel engine running in parallel. It will run on the operator’s suburban routes.

With this system the diesel engine powers the vehicle and energy generated through braking is channelled back into batteries that power the electric motor. Both power sources operate in parallel.

Handberg says results of the year-long trial will also feed into thinking about how the public sector might encourage the uptake of lower-emission vehicle technologies through mechanisms such as government contracts.

Government will contribute funding to the trial by covering the cost differential between a standard bus and the hybrid vehicles, he adds.

For more, see the July issue of ABC magazine – also featuring full coverage of the 2009 Maintenance Conference & Bus Expo. Click here to subscribe or contact Mary Winterschedit on 07 3166 2324 or at mwinterscheidt@acpmagazines.com.au for more information.

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