Volvo Upgrades Hybrid Bus Line for More Speed & Range

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Volvo has been building its “S-Charge” hybrid and electric buses for a few years now, and they’ve been able to dramatically reduce diesel emissions compared to their ICE counterparts by using high-torque electric motors to get buses underway — often the time when diesel engines are under the most stress and at their least efficient. Earlier this week, Volvo took another step towards reducing city bus emissions by upgrading its S-Charge buses with more electric only speed and range.

The newly updated hybrid bus models can now drive up to 50 km/h (about 30 MPH) on pure electric power (up from 20 km/h) for a full kilometer before the buses’ diesel engine kicks in, if it needs to at all. The upgrade also includes improved connectivity and geo-fencing, which makes it possible for the bus to automatically switch to battery power within specified zero-emission areas, and regulates its speed to keep it within posted limits without driver intervention. The system is also smart enough to know when it’s approaching a BEV-only area and “charge up” the batteries appropriately ahead of time, as it’s driving.

Images courtesy of Volvo Buses

“The new S-Charge models are among Volvo’s cleanest buses and will reduce the carbon footprint by up to 40% compared to equivalent diesel buses,” says Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses, in the company’s official release. “The S-Charge can also drive on biofuel, reducing CO2-emissions even more. It is probably the most fuel-efficient and reliable self-charging bus on the market.”

That’s hugely significant to emerging markets and cities that lack the proper charging infrastructure to support a fully BEV bus fleet, and Volvo knows that. “The new S-Charge model range can be deployed on any route since no charging infrastructure is needed,” offers Agnevall. “(Which) enables fast implementation and improved operational efficiency for our customers.”

The new Volvo S-Charge hybrid bus models will be available on a conventional 12-meter model, an articulated bus model, and as bare chassis (the Volvo B5L S-Charge), to be finalized by an upfitter for use as a single or double decker “tour bus” model, or as an RV/camper.

Source | Images: Volvo Buses.

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