Perth's proof positive

Volvo’s hybrid bus project is turning up positive results on Perth’s inner city services

Perth's proof positive
Perth’s proof positive

May 27, 2013

Volvo’s first hybrid bus in Australia has now hit the road and running on Perth’s free inner city Central Area Transit (CAT) service on a twelve-month trial.

Early results from the Transperth trial of the hybrid Volvo B5RHLE shows a positive trend, according to Transperth’s Fleet Manager Paul Burke.

"Although we are still in the beginning of the trial, early results are positive," Burke says.

"The hybrid bus is servicing the Perth CAT routes effectively. We are collecting data using on-board Volvo telematics and service operator figures, which show a positive trend developing on fuel and emissions savings," says Burke.

The CAT routes which pass through Perth’s CBD offer high frequency travel with a low comparative average speed of about 14km, which is optimal for the Volvo hybrid technology.

"We are hoping we will achieve fuel consumption savings, emissions reductions and lower noise output through the use of hybrid technology," Burke says.

"Our aim is to develop a future CAT bus fleet replacement strategy and embrace the potential environmental benefits offered by the technology."

The Volvo B5RHLE uses a parallel hybrid system combining the electric and diesel engine. Compared to a conventional diesel bus, the hybrid utilises energy otherwise wasted during braking. At a traffic light or bus stop, the diesel engine shuts down as another fuel saving measure.

The stored energy is used to charge the battery to allow the bus to run as electric only, which saves fuel. The parallel hybrid can also combine or solely use the output of the diesel engine, when the battery is low or when extra power is needed when accelerating.

"Compared to a diesel bus, passengers may experience improved comfort as the overall noise levels will be lower due to the hybrid engine stop-start characteristics, especially when the bus is running electric only," says Burke.

"Our objective for the remainder of the 12 month trial is to evaluate the collected data and make an assessment of the future CAT bus replacement strategy."

Volvo Bus will be displaying a hybrid chassis and driveline at this year’s BusVic Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne.

During this year’s Expo on July 1-2, Volvo will conduct hybrid technology technical workshops.

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