PHOTO CAPTION: AB Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses can be fast charged.

Volvo Plugin Buses Ordered

The Belgian city of Namur has placed largest order yet for eleven AB Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses and matching ABB 150kW fast-chargers.

Published: 18-Mar-2016

One thing about public transit buses: they're heavy. They have to be. They haul lots of people lots of miles on a daily basis in all kinds of weather. That also means that if you're going to make them cleaner by introducing electric drive, you're going to have to solve their energy storage challenges, because like the bus, batteries are heavy too.

BYD builds an all electric bus with huge battery banks, which adds to the cost of the vehicle. AB Volvo has come up with a compromise approach in its 7900 model: an electric hybrid drive system that uses fast charging and a diesel generator to cut emissions and increase operational range. Think of it as the public bus version of a Chevrolet Volt.

The electric hybrid diesel generator concept isn't new: locomotives and German U-boats used it long before GM tried it in their Precept hybrid. What makes Volvo's take on the technology is the introduction of fast-charging, as demonstrated in the promotional video below. Using ABB's 150kW overhead catenary recharger, Volvo estimates that its buses, which have an all-electric driving range of 4.3 miles (7 km), can operated up to 70 percent of the time on battery power alone. Compared to a conventional diesel bus, this approach cuts overall energy consumption by an estimated 60% and CO2 emissions by 75-90% based on a 10 km test route.

The Belgian city of Namur will be one of the first to introduce the 7900, ordering 11 of them along with a pair of ABB automated fast charge stations. Volvo will provide turn-key sales and support for buses and chargers.

AB Volvo 7900 Hybrid Electric Bus

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