Volvo is showing an articulated e-bus for the first time at Busworld Europe. The Volvo 7900 EA (Electric Articulated) can transport up to 150 passengers, and Volvo says it consumes up to 80 per cent less energy than a diesel bus.
To meet the specific requirements of the respective cities and operators, the design of the bus is flexible and can be tailored to diverse needs. One of the points: The 7900 EA can be ordered either in lengths of 18 or 18.7 meters. Besides, as with other electric buses, Volvo enables operators to vary the number of batteries, thus using only the capacity required for the respective application. A maximum of 396 kWh is possible.
The batteries can be charged either via fast-charging stations along the route (using pantographs) or via cable (CCS) in the depot. However, Volvo does not mention charging times in the message. The 7900 EA is powered by two 200 kW electric motors, each with a two-speed gearbox. This should enable the bus to start on steep gradients of up to 20 degrees even when fully loaded.
According to Volvo, the articulated bus was designed from the outset to “allow passengers to move quickly through the bus and benefit from a quiet and comfortable ride”. Four large doors will facilitate boarding and alighting, large barrier-free floor areas, ergonomically designed handrails and self-designed seats will increase comfort for all passengers.
“With the electric articulated bus, we are creating new opportunities for cities that want to address and drive their development of sustainable public transport with energy-efficient, quiet and emission-free buses,” said Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Bus Corporation.
To enable as many customers as possible to switch to electric buses, Volvo wants to establish another business model in addition to the purchase. The 7900 EA can also be ordered at a fixed cost per kilometre. “We ensure that the operator always has a bus ready for the road, without the need to purchase it,” says Agnevall. “Servicing, repairs, battery maintenance and driver training are all included”.
Volvo first announced the 7900 EA at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in June. The new articulated bus is based on the prototypes that have been in operation since June 2018 on the High-Frequency Route 16 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The two concept buses have driven 4,500 hours so far and have covered more than 62,000 kilometres with excellent operating times, according to the manufacturer.
Volvo also updated its hybrid buses: These can now travel longer distances and at higher speeds electrically. The electric drive can be used at speeds of up to 50 km/h, whereas previously this was only possible at speeds of around 20 km/h. Depending on climatic conditions and topography, the bus can drive up to one kilometre at a time on full electric mode.
Besides, the upgrade for the hybrid buses also includes Volvo’s Geofencing system, the Volvo Zone Management. Zone management allows the operator to program the bus to switch to electric drive in selected areas automatically. The speed is automatically regulated and adjusted without the initiation of active braking.
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