Hamburg electric hybrid goes into service

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GERMANY Three of Volvo’s 7900 Electric Hybrids commenced scheduled operation on ‘Innovation Route 109’ in Hamburg on December 18.

The route will be used by operator Hamburger Hochbahn AG to run comparative tests of innovative drive technologies under scheduled service conditions. Volvo’s diesel hybrid buses in both 18m articulated and 12m versions will also be tested as well as battery fuel cell buses and fuel cell buses from other manufacturers. The city has a target that from 2020, only emission-free buses should be acquired by the city.

“We are delighted that our new electric hybrid bus will serve the Innovation Route 109,” said Olof Persson, President and CEO of the Volvo Group. “For us, the electric hybrid bus represents the current peak of our successful cooperation with Hamburger Hochbahn AG. Together, we have reached our shared goal, making public transport more efficient, quieter and more sustainable. We will continue our cooperation here in Hamburg with sustainable, low-noise vehicles.”

The Innovation Route 109 runs from the new Electric Bus Terminal near Hamburg Central Station to the final stop at the underground station in Alsterdorf. With a length of about 10kms, it’s suitable for the Volvo Electric hybrid buses, with their plug-in technology that permits full electric operation over at least 7km.

Charging takes place at the two bus terminals using a pantograph that is integrated with the charging station. When the bus has reached its parking position under the charging mast, the pantograph is lowered to both of the charging bars on the roof of the bus when the driver presses a button. The complete charging process takes only six minutes.

The lithium ion iron phosphate charger provides the electric motor (150 kW) with power. The bus travels at least seven kilometers purely on electricity, before the Euro 6 diesel aggregate switches on. On the stretches driven only on electricity, the bus is completely emission-free and emits extremely low-noise comparable to that of a normal conversation.

Volvo says there’s major interest in the new Electric Hybrid buses from numerous cities, both in Europe and in other parts of the world. Serial production is scheduled to commence early 2016.