I have previously written about the benefits of the versatility of the Volvo 7700 Hybrid in particular about the superior performance in different types of city operation. But, what about rural bus operation? In the absence of stop and go traffic surely the savings will be marginal. As the hybrid now are rolling out from the factory and delivered to the operators in Europe a steady flow of reports also emerge.
The first hybrid bus from the pre series was delivered to the Swiss Post. It was clear already from the start that the Swiss Post wanted to assess the performance in rural operation (überland). The Swiss Post carefully selected a representative rout to generate useful information to assess the use of hybrid buses in their operation. An average speed of 30 km/h and a altitude difference of 260 m on the 14.6 km long rout is a challenge for any hybrid.
Three different reference buses are used. The fuel consumption of the reference buses were; 35.8, 39.9 and 40.6 litre per 100 kilometre. The Volvo 7700 Hybrid used 28.6 litre per 100 km for the same rout. The saving was hence between 20 and 29.4% in Swiss rural operation.
Mean while, several more buses have been taken into service also in Switzerland. In this photo a new hybrid delivered to Aargau, Switzerland.
I have learned that also Sales Lentz in Luxembourg and Netbus in Trondheim, Norway, operate at average speeds around 30 km/h. It seems that the Volvo 7700 hybrid is about to escape the city and now conquer the rural operation as well.
But still, most importantly, the Volvo parallel hybrid design secures the reliability of the bus by safe guarding the diesel engine performance by an additional air compressor and generator in case of any disturbance of the high voltage system.