Volvo is in talks with TfL to introduce more electrified buses in the capital
Volvo Buses met with Transport for London (TfL) and passenger rights groups last week (10 June) to discuss the wider adoption of electrified buses in the capital.
Speaking to airqualitynews.com, Phil Owen, commercial sales director at Volvo Buses, said Volvo’s future technology strategy is fully focused on electrification, calling it the “most sustainable model for the future.â€?
While TfL has made a significant investment in hybrid buses, Volvo is pushing for an accelerated adoption of electric buses which it claims can help tackle London’s air pollution. Volvo’s new ‘plug-in-hybrid’ and pure electric buses reduce CO2 emissions by 47-100%, the car-maker claims, and eliminate noise as well as reducing NOx and particulate emissions by 99-100% when compared to conventional buses.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has put air quality at the top of his agenda, since his election to City Hall last month (see airqualitynews.com story).
Adrian Felton, city mobility manager at Volvo Buses, told airqualitynews.com: “Its early days with Sadiq. It’s important to see that he’s making a mark quite early. Certainly the previous mayor made his mark, much to the detriment of the transport industry.â€?
But Mr Felton believes London will play a key role in introducing electric transport technology in order to quickly improve air quality, saying that “the desire to improve is there.â€?
A cleaner transport fleet could be a huge step towards achieving air quality goals, according to Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Bus Corporation: “We believe electric bus systems are the future of urban public transport, as environmentally clean and as comfortable as a tram or light rail, but at a small portion of the cost.
“As London looks to improve its air quality and future-proof its public transport, electric bus systems have great potential to be part of the solution.â€?
In terms of infrastructure, Volvo’s ‘opportunity charging’ stations are installed at the end of each bus route. “That means you can actively charge to the levels you need each and every time you need it. It gives much more flexibility and doesn’t require the vehicle to come off the road at any point during the day,â€? Mr Owen said.
Because they charge throughout the day, Volvo claims that opportunity charging stations are less time-consuming than overnight charging, which takes a minimum of six to eight hours. They also do not require as much energy to be stored in any one place, according to Mr Owen.
“We look to supply the whole transport solution, so as much as it’s about the vehicles, it’s also about the infrastructure, about the best routes to run the vehicles on, and what might be the best way to fund projects,â€? he said.
Volvo will be looking to secure commercial funding, with plans to offer a return to investors, which will be reflected in the price of charging vehicles. “We recognise that whoever purchases the infrastructure system will still want competition,â€? said Mr Owen. “Cities and local authorities would be best placed to purchase the infrastructure themselves. That would allow them to go to different vehicle suppliers without investing in new infrastructure.â€?
In the long term, electrified buses, with their reduced or zero emission levels and quiet motors, can bring about innovations such as indoors bus stops within commercial or residential buildings, Volvo says.
“Public transport of the future needs to be thought about in terms of where developments are happening. We need to build it into the environment,â€? Mr Owen concluded. “Shopping centres should have bus stops in them, rather than clogging up the streets with big car parks.”