World’s first fast-charged hybrid bus

28 Apr 2011

Sweden has unveiled what it is calling the world’s first-ever fast-charged hybrid bus onto the streets of Umeå City in the far north of the country for testing.

Known as the Arctic Whisper, the e-Traction converted Volvo 7700 is a “battery dominant” hybrid bus, so it has the ability to run on batteries only, with its diesel generator turned completely off.

The Arctic Whisper has 100kWh of Valence Li-Ion batteries that can typically run for one to three hours. These batteries can then be fast-charged by the Opbrid Bůsbaar fast-charging station at the end of each trip to extend the all-electric range of the hybrid bus from two hours to 18 hours.

The Opbrid Bůsbaar fast-charging station for hybrid and electric urban buses has been developed by the Spanish firm Opbrid.

The batteries are fully charged at night, with the Bůsbaar providing the additional electricity needed for a full day of electric driving.

The hybrid bus also features a backup diesel generator, so it can revert to run on bio-diesel in the event of traffic jams or very cold weather, for instance.

The city of Umeå is aiming to fill its streets with a number of these vehicles by 2014, the year when it will be the “Cultural Capital of Europe”.

Because both diesel and biofuels are very expensive in Sweden, the country is looking at this solution to electrify its bus system.

Testing of the first bus and charging station will continue through the spring and summer of 2011 in Umeå City, with a second bus arriving soon.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic