ElectriCity rapid implementation of Linje 55

In mid April this year, the Lindholmen bus stop was still a construction site. In parallel the construction of charging station at the other terminal station, at Johanneberg science park was ongoing. Linje 55 (route 55) is a good example to show that the lead-time to go from traditional buses to an electrified bus system is close to equal to the delivery time of the buses.

lindholmen indoor bus stop april 15

Lindholmen indoor bus stop and charging station was still under construction in April, 2015.

The project leader, Johan Larsson, was dedicated and worked closely with the partners in the ElectriCity project. In the background: the rapid door, the ElectriCity bus and the SVP for City Mobility in Volvo Buses, Jessica Sandström.

The project leader, Johan Larsson, was dedicated and worked closely with the partners in the ElectriCity project. In the background: the rapid door, the ElectriCity bus and the SVP for City Mobility in Volvo Buses, Jessica Sandström.

On monday the 15th of June the bus traffic started on the new bus route in Gothenburg, “Linje 55”. The press conference was hosted by the top management of the Volvo Group, Håkan Karlsson and Volvo Buses CEO Håkan Agnevall met with the international invitees.
As the Volvo Ocean Race ships finish this week the buses will give service to several hundred invitees from all over the world already the second week.

Linje 55 has already become a success. The buses are busy all day.
While Linje 55 already is ground breaking and extraordinary a lot if side projects has started and I’m sure I will have good reasons to come back to Linje 55 in the blog to report further on the progress.

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UITP Milan 2015

This year’s UITP congress was hosted by the agent and wonderful city of Milan. Milan has 7.5 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area and thus a multitude of public transport challenges. The requirements for preserving an antique city center in combination with the demand for swift public transport services poses many challenges.

The new generation of buses certainly made an impact. Sustainability is high on the agenda. Being clean is not enough anymore. Strong performance in energy efficiency, noise and CO2 footprint becomes important requirements for cities that build sustainability for the future.

UITP_volvo_electric

Volvo presented for the first time in public the electric bus concept now running in the ElectriCity route in Gothenburg. The bus use opportunity charging facilitated by the rapid charging station. The concept enables virtually unlimited range and solution to challenging routes and is compatible with Electgric Hybrid buses and plug-in buses. The charging standard is open for any stake holder to use.

UITP_volvo_ceo

Volvo CEO Håkan Agnevall was busy hosting the crowded Volvo Bus stand

In front of the electric bus a new back-lit Volvo brand iron mark finds it place

In front of the electric bus a new back-lit Volvo brand iron mark finds it place

We are convinced that the new bus systems that Volvo has developed will meet the demands of cities that today struggle to balance a number of ostensibly contradictory requirements.

We welcome the electric bus to the Volvo family of Hybrid and Electric Hybrid buses.

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More cities want to become smart

Recently, I visited Curitiba to take part in the Smart City Business America. There is a strong interest from cities in Latin America in general and specifically from cities in Brazil to apply new smart technologies for more or less every function in the city.

Gustavo Fruet (Curitiba Mayor) hosted the conference and about 1000 participants (my estimate) out of which 15 City Mayors joined the meeting. Mayor Fruet spent a lot of time at the conference and gave a lot of feedback to the speakers. The genuine interest in the well-being of the citizens is a true inspiration for innovation and development of Smart business within a lot of fields.

smart city business

Gustavo Fruet hosting the mayors session.

The UN Habitat session was heavily visited and the transport session hosted by Volvo got a lot of attention. Volvo presented new ways for electromobility to support the capacity requirements of high capacity BRT routes.

Growing cities face a number of challenges. The need for developing cost efficient public transports is common for most of them. In few places the public transports are as efficient as in in Latin America. The rule models for replacing low capacity by high capacity are called BRT. The most efficient BRT routes have traffic priority and separate layers for busy crossings.

Jaime Lerner invented the concept during his years as mayor in the city. Volvo is proud to have contributed to developing the high capacity buses to the level we have today and, to continue the development to the new concepts for tomorrow. Mr. Lerner continues to develop and innovate within the field of high capacity buses. Daring new designs and elevated guided bus-ways are some of the new concepts, in the pipe line.

Former Mayor Jaime Lerner

Former Mayor Jaime Lerner, innovator of BRT, is still a target for the press.

Fabio Scatolin, Secretary of Finances, presented how Curitiba plans to realize a completely new show case for not only transports but city planning, innovation and education, the Green Line. There are lots of green-field cities in the world but this is the first Green Line I have heard of. Instead of thinking in the usual way “How to support the city with roads and transports” Curitiba inverts the concept and build new city functions around a completely new transport corridor. It will be most exciting to follow the development and, hopefully to contribute to.

One thing I have learnt after some years of travelling megacities around the world: Where there are ladies walking their dogs in the morning, the jogging is safe.  There are few better ways to learn to know a city than by spending an hour or two in the morning pulse as the city wakes up in the morning. I got a beautiful morning tour jogging crossing the city.

The following day I spent in the Curitiba BRT system. It is evident that Curitiba is a bit ahead of most cities in the development of efficient bus services. In some aspects Curitiba bus system is the most well developed in the world. By combining feeder buses, express buses, BRT, and circular lines the system is well trimmed to meet the transport needs of the city.

curitiba brt

Curitiba BRT still busy at noon. Large doors secure rapid boarding. The average stop time, clocked by me was 8 seconds.

Unfortunately, the financial crisis has struck the development of public transports all around the world. In Curitiba the system has reached its capacity limit, the car fleet is growing and additional actions are required. During the relatively short time I spent in the system a few observations that surely the transport authority is aware of are mentioned here (just a few that is outside the scope I deal with): improved road quality, drive-by lanes for bus stops, signal priority for traffic signals. Whenever the city finds the financial strength, there will be a new spring for BRT in Curitiba as well.

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Volvo Ocean Race stop-over at Itajai

Being a passionate sailor myself it’s hard to decline an invitation to the Volvo Ocean Race event. The event is visited by hundreds of thousands every third year when it takes place. It is truly one of the most challenging sailing contests on the planet.

Lots of school kids visit the Volvo Ocean Race to learn about climate change and environment challenges for the oceans.

Lots of school kids visit the Volvo Ocean Race to learn about climate change and environment challenges for the oceans.

For Volvo Buses it is an excellent opportunity to display our offers of buses and services to the public and to our customers and key partners. In Itajai we were honored by visits of our most valuable partners in South America.

I presented our new hybrid and electric hybrid (by some called plug-in) offers. In short it is a complete range of advanced buses that have our modular platform of electromobility components and services in common.

Volvo was first in the heavy duty vehicle industry in introducing Lithium Ion Batteries. We have successfully taken the energy storage to a new level. It is now generally recognized that Lithium Ion batteries will be an important part of the ongoing paradigm shift to electromobility and Volvo has the longest and most successful experience.

over 2000 volvo hybrids sold

I believe that the key to our success is that we manage to deliver on our promises on fuel consumption, reliability and total cost of ownership. We have kept an honest and transparent communication that gradually has been confirmed by operators, institutes and authorities.

Graph: Fuel Consumption vs average speed plot of individual hybrid buses in the period 29th of November 2014 to 29th of December 2014. Each dot is accumulated monthly data for one bus. The lack of data from similar diesel buses in the same traffic as the hybrid buses gives less confidence therefore the red line above is set at the 95% confidence interval for all reference buses in South America. The implication of this is that the fuel saving is more than 33% with 95% probability.

Graph: Fuel Consumption vs average speed plot of individual hybrid buses in the period 29th of November 2014 to 29th of December 2014. Each dot is accumulated monthly data for one bus. The lack of data from similar diesel buses in the same traffic as the hybrid buses gives less confidence therefore the red line above is set at the 95% confidence interval for all reference buses in South America. The implication of this is that the fuel saving is more than 33% with 95% probability.

The most recent baby in the family is the South American Double Decker. She will become a success for any city that prioritizes comfort as well as environmental performance. This is most welcome where cities need to offer attractiveness for car users.

The new Volvo DD Global Hybrid (Body by Marcopolo) with Volvo Ocean Race striping

The new Volvo DD Global Hybrid (Body by Marcopolo) with Volvo Ocean Race striping

Volvo has sold more than 500 hybrid buses in South America. And the feed-back and experience is overwhelming. We are immensely proud to be able to contribute to upgrading the role of the bus to become the leading contributor of environmentally sane city renewal.

Unfortunately, I had to leave right before the in-port race got started but I got a couple of snapshots of the boats as they were tumbling in the port.

Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA in Itajai harbor

Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA in Itajai harbor

Volvo Ocean Race Team Dong Feng

Volvo Ocean Race Team Dong Feng

Beach Panorama from morning jogging at Balneário Cambóriu

Beach Panorama from morning jogging at Balneário Cambóriu

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Celebrating 800 hybrids in UK

Last week I had the opportunity to visit London. Hybrid Double Decker buses dominate the bus traffic in the centre of London.

Volvo B5LH Hybrid double decker bus in UK

One of the now more than 800 Volvo B5LH Hybrid buses in the UK, a 10.5 meter double decker with a body from Wrights.

Early 2009 the first 6 Volvo hybrid double decker buses (B5LH) were put into service in London. It did not take long until the first reports came. The Volvo double decker’s became top performers in reliability and fuel consumption. Since then, more than 800 hybrid buses have been put into service in the United Kingdom. Most of them are running in London.

I have collected some data from the last six years experience:

Average total yearly speed* of the UK selection: 18.5 km/h

90th percentile: 13 km/h (i.e. 90% of the buses run faster than 13 km/h)

10th percentile: 26 km/h (i.e. 10% of the buses run faster than 26 km/h)

Average yearly distance 58 000 km

*the speed includes all operation in service ant out of service (the criteria for accumulating fuel consumption data is that the key is turned to the “ON” position. In this way also “electric idle of hybrid buses is also included”

 

The fuel consumption of the average bus (running at 18.5 km/h) is: 34.9 liter / 100 km

The fuel consumption of the 90th percentile (running at 13 km/h) is: 41.2 liter / 100 km

The fuel consumption of the 10th percentile (running at 26 km/h) is: 28.6 liter / 100 km

 

Volvo has three recent technologies for Double Decker buses in UK.

table1

Below we compare the fuel consumption performance for the gross number of buses in the UK. It should be noted that the buses run at different operators and in different types of service. The yearly average speed alone does not full describe the bus service. However gives a strong indication for which fuel consumption can be expected for different operation.

Table Fuel Economy, yearly average of the population here compared at an average speed of 15 km/h. The fuel saving is calculated as how much less fuel is required for the Hybrid to achieve bus service of the same distance as the diesel buses that it is compared to.

table2

At lower speed the idle time increase and the fuel consumption increases for all buses.

Table Fuel Economy, yearly average of the population here compared at an average speed of 12.5 km/h. (there were too few B5TL buses running at the lower speed therefore significant data could not be extracted for comparing to the B5TL model at the low speed)

12.5 km/h miles / Gallon (UK) Liter / 100 km Saving to B9TL
B5LH 6.6 43 30%
B9TL 4.6 61 0%

In the same way the fuel consumption decreases when the total yearly speed is increased. speed the idle time increase and the fuel consumption increases for all buses.

Table Fuel Economy, yearly average of the population here compared at an average speed of 18 km/h.

table4

When the fuel consumption is plotted to the average speed the following graph is obtained:

Volvo hybrid double decker in UK

As a final conclusion the following “back-of-an-envelope” calculation illustrate the impact of the hybrids in UK:

Number of Volvo Hybrid buses 800 fleet
Average fuel saving 14.88 liter per 100 km
Yearly distance 58 000 km
Total fleet yearly saving 6 904 m3
Fleet life-time fuel saving (12 years) 82 852 m3
Fleet daily fuel saving (365 days per year) 19 m3
Fleet cost saving (£1.15 per litre) 21 753 £ per day
Fleet CO2 saving (2.63 kg CO2 per litre) 50 tonnes per day

Table: Impact of hybrid bus fleet on fuel and CO2, the average bus having a speed of 18 km/h, and a fuel consumption 32.5 liter per 100 km. The average diesel bus (mix of all) has a fuel consumption of 48 liter per 100 km.

Now over to something completely different: Yesterday I visited the lake of Hornborgasjön close to the Volvo Engine factory in Skövde Sweden.

hornborgasjön1 ???????????????????????????????

The dance of the Crane birds is a spectacular event that gathers about 15 000 specimens of the Cranes (Grus Grus) and some thousands of the Homo sapiens specimen. Swans, ducks and other animals seem to be attracted to the event as well.

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What if all buses and coaches were electric?

If all Swedish buses and coaches were to be electrified, the total energy use would decrease and the shift from diesel and gas fuels to electricity would lead to an increase of the electric energy use by 1.2% compared to the total energy use today.

About to charge, at the inaguaration of line 109 in Hamburg.

About to charge, at the inaguaration of line 109 in Hamburg.

We know that the energy efficiency increase a lot when buses and coaches becomes electrified. This is the case both when “tank-to-wheel” and when “well-to-wheel” is studied. The reason is that buses and coaches have big engines to cope with their duty cycle that involves a lot of starts and stops. For example, a typical bus engine for a standard 12m bus has about 250 hp (horse power maximum output) while the average power outtake in a city duty cycle is about 50 hp. The average power-load is hence only 20% of the maximum power. The low average load leads to low efficiency. Or, to make a long story short, the average efficiency of the diesel engine in a bus duty cycle is about 20-30%. An average load below 30% is hence the case even when the efficiency in the most efficient load point can go beyond 45%.

Before proceeding to the impact on the electricity production and distribution I therefore want to firmly underline that the total energy use will in almost every real world situation lead to a decrease in total energy use.

In reality, since the life-time of a bus is more than 10 years, the paradigm shift will take place during a decade and there will be a lot of time to adapt the electricity production and the distribution chain to the new needs.

Nevertheless, as an example I have below looked-up some key data for my home country, Sweden, to answer the question:

What would the impact on the electric production and grid be if all buses and coaches in Sweden were to become plug-in or electric over-night?

Would the electric production capacity be sufficient?

Would the electric grid be capable of dealing with the increased power requirement?

To start I want to understand the relationships in terms of how many households does an electric bus correspond to? According to the Swedish Institute Elforsk, a household uses between 4 000 and 25 000 kWh electricity per year, depending on weather it is an average apartment or a private house with electric heating. In order to make a comparison I have assumed a yearly mileage of 55 000 km for a city bus with an average power use of 1.6 kWh per km. This number accounts for higher energy use at winter conditions but assumes that a biofuel is used for heating the bus compartment; else the energy use will be higher.

The charging station can provide 150 kW. The pantgraph is mounted on the stationary mast on a hight safe for other types of traffic.

The charging station can provide 150 kW. The pantgraph is mounted on the stationary mast on a hight safe for other types of traffic.

For the charging station I have assumed a high utilization of about 60%. This would be a worst case to relate to. One bus uses the same amount of electricity as between 4 and 22 households, depending on which type of household we compare to. Buses mostly give service to between 500 and 5 000 persons per day. One charging station will be able to serve several buses. It will transfer the same amount of electricity as used by between 15 and 100 households. It seems that the ball-park figures are reasonable.

Next, I want to understand the total energy use for buses, if they were to be electrified. The total number of registered buses and coaches were 14 203 (2012). This number includes all buses from 3.6 ton minibuses, to 40 ton 24m tall bi-articulated buses. Most buses in Sweden are between 12 and 14.5 meters. I have not found any reliable data for the average mileage. I have therefore used some rough assumptions to put us in the right ball park. Some school buses and spare buses are barely used while some few long distance coaches may travel more than 300 000 km / year. A guestimate gave me 70 000 km per year as an average for all buses and coaches. Since we now deal with all buses and coaches I also added some margin to the electricity use. An educated guess gives us: 2 kWh/km as a rough number to cover all sorts of traffic. This number does not include electricity for heating the compartment in the winter. This is for practical reasons assumed to be done with a biofuel.

The calculated energy use for all buses and coaches was about 2 109 kWh per year. As this number has no meaning for an old chemical engineer as myself. I want to relate it to the daily use of the citizens in Sweden. Again, I end up with a lot of numbers. The buses and coaches will use a fraction of the electricity used today in Sweden; 1.2% to be precise. Note that the production and use does not ad-up, since Sweden export electricity, in recent years.

In Sweden households use 23% of the electricity that is produced. Most of the electricity is used by industry (35%) and 24% is used by “Society services” (railway, street lights, hospitals etc). Buses are used mostly where people live (households) and where people work (Industry and at offices). It seems that theoretically, if there is a limitation in the electric distribution chain it would be close to the households. The relative increase of electricity use, if all electricity for the buses would be pulled from the part of the grid supporting households only, would increase the load on the grid by in average 5.3%. Provided that peak loads can be secured not to overlap in time for households and buses, we can conclude that the electric grid will not become a limitation in the distribution chain. This statement is only valid on a “city level”. Certainly, there may be local effects but in general it seems that the electric grid in Sweden will not pose a limitation for the electrification of the buses.

Next question: Is the production capacity of electricity a limitation to supply energy to electric buses and coaches?

There are of course several complex questions about spare capacity and peak capacity and the availability over time. For this a much more detailed analysis is required. Still some relations to the maximum capacity may give some indication for weather we are close to the production capacity limit or not. Again stressing that the analysis is an over simplification it is concluded that the electrification of all buses and coaches in Sweden will “eat” about 1.2% of the spare production capacity (it is a coincidence that both relative increase of electricity use and the relative use of spare capacity ends up at the same 1.2%).

Which conclusions can be drawn for Sweden?

1, On the national level there is sufficient production capacity of electricity to supply all buses and coaches with electricity, this as a yearly average.

2, On the city level (this is however not possible to claim on street or block level), the electric grid does not pose a limitation to distribute electricity to the buses.

3, Locally and time analysis requires a more detail data and analysis.

References: references

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Mexico City

On Wednesday the 20th of January Mexico City signed a memorandum of understanding with Volvo. The partners will cooperate to share information with the objective to realize environmentally sane public transports.

Mexico City has 9 million inhabitants and the region/urban area has 21 million inhabitants.
Like all megacities Mexico City has several urgent transport challenges:
-The car ridership is gradually increasing and the traffic is becoming increasingly congested.
-A large number of old micro and midi buses have negative impact on the air quality.
-Heavy transports contribute to road wear, noise and vibrations.
-Growth of the population  increase the demand for transport capacity and insufficient number of efficient alternatives give long transport times and high costs for citizens. This cost is both reflected in higher prices for the transports and in less time with friends and family.
-High interest rates and long lead times delay the required infra-structure investments.
-The synthesis of all the challenges give raise to a negative helix where energy use and emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing and not decreasing, as the urbanization should have potential for.

I have been involved in analyzing the potential of implementing clean and energy efficient bus systems. As in most of the cities where Volvo is involved in implementing the new technology (e.g. Hamburg) the new energy efficient bus systems can address all challenges for the person transports simultaneously. In congested traffic cars are mostly the main contributors to the congestion and buses can mostly provide efficient alternatives for many of the car users. The beauty of the new hybrid and electric bus systems is that they can meet all the environmental challenges by utilizing the existing road infrastructure. When given exclusivity the buses are getting faster and the car users are attracted to the public transports. The modern design and silent drive ads further to the attractiveness. With marginal additional investments in road infrastructure for fly-over congested crossing or dive-under waterways the new bus systems can raise the capacity with further advantage in environmental performance.

Volvo Mexico City MoU signature

The Memorandum of Understanding between Volvo Bus and Mexico City was signed by Rufino Leon Továr (Minister of Transports) for Mexico City and by Håkan Agnevall (Chief Executive Officer Volvo Bus) for Volvo Bus and it was witnessed by Tanya Muller (Mexico City Minister of Environment), Guillermo Calderon (Director Metrobus), Rafael Kiesel (Volvo, Ralph Acs (General Manager Volvo Bus Americas), Ileana Almazan (Director RTP), Jörgen Persson (Ambassador of Sweden in Mexico).

 

7900 Articulated Hybrid and my Self at the Plaza de la Constitution in Mexico City.

7900 Articulated Hybrid and my self at the Plaza de la Constitution in Mexico City.

 

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