Volvo offers usable energy commitment for electric buses

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Volvo Buses will guarantee capacity for an agreed amount of energy for the operation throughout the contract period. RICHARD SHARMAN

As electric buses continue to grow in popularity, Volvo Buses has said it is looking to move to a different model to ensure vehicle availability and uptime. The manufacturer has announced that it is now offering its ‘usable energy commitment’ as a business solution, which will mean that Volvo Buses guarantees capacity for an agreed amount of energy for the operation throughout the contract period.

In the early days of electric buses, range and battery capacity were the all-important issues, said the manufacturer, which is now focusing on what it calls usable energy, meaning that the energy needed for the operation is defined, along with the operational conditions.
“Reliable operation has very little to do with maximising battery capacity, which is expensive and resource-intensive,” said Maria Wedenby, City Mobility Director at Volvo Buses. “Uptime is paramount in public transport, and standstills are costly, so from both business and sustainability points of view it’s better to optimise the capacity of the energy storage system, or ESS. We have increased our usable energy capacity, helping cities to electrify more and longer routes in their transportation systems.”

Volvo said its usable energy commitment requires an analysis of the service operation, undertaken in cooperation with the operator. Climate, average speed, passenger load and charging strategy are factors taken into account that determine the amount of energy that needs to be stored on board the bus.

The manufacturer explained that optimising energy storage is part of ambition to build circular, sustainable systems for electrified public transport. “For several years now we have been conducting full life cycle assessments for our buses. They cover environmental impact, usage of materials and resources all the way from raw materials to re-use and recycling. Our usable energy commitment is a vital ingredient. In fact, our customers’ daily operations become part of a long-term sustainability work, when we together define and optimise the storage of energy needed for the operations. At Volvo Buses, we make sure this will continue to work – throughout the operational contract period. That’s the essence of our usable energy commitment,” concluded Maria.

The news comes as Volvo Bus UK & Ireland tweeted on 5 July: ‘Singles or doubles – the choice is yours,’ with a tennis-themed background and a link to Volvo Buses’ global website which announced that it will hold an ‘Electrifying World Premiere’ on 27 September at 1000hrs.