An extensive pilot project based around the use of highly efficient, lightweight electric buses is gearing up for launch in the city of Helsinki, Finland.
With Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland functioning as the pilot backers, the technologies of electric buses, quick-charge batteries, and ultra-lightweight aluminum frames will be tested out in the relatively harsh real-world conditions of the capital of the Northern European country.
This pilot project represents the first such extensive pre-commercial pilot project using buses from the company Linkker. The plan is for HSL to put the 12 buses purchased from Linkker into service by late summer. (A bit of background: Linkker was formed roughly a year ago as a spin-off of the eBus project put together by VTT.)
“We made an exception and bought the buses ourselves, because it would have been unreasonable to have a transport operator shoulder the technology risks of individually made electric buses,” stated Reijo Mäkinen, Director of HSL’s Transport Services.
“The bus frame will be made fully out of aluminium. Thanks to their light weight, the buses will also be extremely energy-efficient. The batteries will be quick-charged at the terminal. Other benefits include zero emissions and quiet operation,” stated Linkker’s Managing Director Kimmo Erkkilä.
The buses that will be part of the pilot project are going to be outfitted with data collecting sensors — gathering information on the batteries, charge levels, patterns of use, speed, etc.
The pilot program is apparently part of a broader 4-year development project in the region, aiming to support “innovative and emission-free bus transport technologies.”
“HSL has made a genuine ‘catalytic acquisition’ to speed up the electrification of bus transport systems. VTT has been involved in the development of electric buses right from the start, and we are pleased to say that Finland is creating an international reference for electric buses,” stated Nils-Olof Nylund, Head of VTT’s TransSmart research programme.
HSL’s current aim is to lower carbon dioxide emissions (+ other emissions) from bus transport by more than 90% by 2025.
Image Credit: VTT
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