Hybrid examination in Dordrecht

Today I visited the beautifull city of Dordrecht. The reason being the handover and introduction of Volvo 7700 Hybrid. 27 new hybrid buses are gradually being phased in to replace the present diesel buses.

The event was organised by the “provincie of Zuid Holland” and by the operator Arriva. Already when arriving by the train to Dordrecht, it was easy to recognise the Arriva buses busy at the bus station near by. And to my surprise the pavement was decorated with information on the hybrid event.

The elderman of the provincie Asje van Dijk expalined the background in an introductory presenation: the province work consistently towards improved sustainability by a “Duurzaamheid Offensief”, “It is not good enough to wait and see. We need to act together”.

Dordrecht will save more than one million litre fuel every year by changing to the Volvo hybrid technology. And, mr. Van Dijk has visions for the future, the city of Dordrecht already makes trials with electric cars and being in the fore front of the technology is a way to stay updated also in the area of transportation technology competence, in a modern society.

Wubbo Ockels (prof. in sustainable technologies, former astronaut) gave an energising presentation on solar cars, solar boats and the future of environmental vehicles.

The Arriva Volvo 7700 Hybrid in Dordrecht really draw attention.

I, in turn, got to present the hybrid technology. When assessing the root cause of global warming the extensive energy use is the root. The Volvo 7700 Hybrid is realising five new technologies to enable the lowest fuel consumption on the market:

1, Electrification of auxilliaries such as Climate controll, air compressor and steering servo saves energy and is an enabler for –>

2, Start/Stop, shut down of the idling engine at bus stops, when the charge status of the battery allows it.

3, Utilising the I-shift gear box, the 12 gears and the high mechanical efficiency allows minimised losses in the power transmission to the wheels.

4, The engine is downsized from 9 litre to five litre. This enables a higher average load, when the engine is used, and thus a higher efficiency.

5, Break energy is recuperated from the kinetic energy of the bus. When breaking, the electrical machine does the breaking and the energy is stored in a litium ion battery and when accelerating the energy is used for the silent electric take-off from the bus stop.

One detail specific for Dordrecht is an alarm bell similar to those used for trams. It is used to warn the passenger at the bus stop for the approaching silent bus.

It was specially appreciated that Volvo could stand fully behind the offer and take responsability for example for the service. As always for new products all the answers as for service cost and spare parts are not awailable in the beginning. In order to still be able to proceed it is essential that all actors, authorities, operators and bus manufacturers make efforts to share the risk.

Now, when writing this im gliding through Holland by train. From a distance it looks like a miniature landscape; beautifull houses, canals, dikes, windmills, bridges, farms and green houses are all evidence (although difficult to catch with the camera) of a great environmental concern of the Dutch people. There are not many square meters in this country that does not have a specific purpose and thus carefully cultivated.

Last year some of the traditionalists in the public transport business said: “dont buy hybrids now, within a few years we will have serial hybrids for you”.

Now, when it is generally reconised that the Volvo parallell technology is in lead with superior efficiency to the serial hybrids in all type of traffic conditions, the same people say: “dont buy hybrids now within a few years we will have fuel cell buses, plug-in hybrids or fully electrical buses”. Fortunately, not all polticians buy into the wait and see lobbying. Saving one million litre diesel yearly is a substantial contribution to the “Duurzaamheid Offensief” in a city like Dordrecht.

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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