Volvo Hybrid Double Deck handed over at historic venue


The historic venue of Alexandra Palace in London provided a fitting backdrop on Tuesday (7th July) for the handover to Arriva London of the first of a new generation of highly fuel efficient and environmentally friendly Volvo hybrid Double Deck buses.

A total of six Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck buses are in the process of entering service on Route 141 – part of an extensive trial of hybrid technology by Transport for London (TfL) involving a total of 56 buses in the UK’s capital city.

 Representatives from Volvo Bus and Arriva London together with other stakeholders gathered to formally mark, what is, another historic occasion at the Alexandra Palace. It was here back in 1936 the BBC made the first public broadcast to the world of High Definition Television – then a new technology which was to subsequently become part of everyday life worldwide.

 More than seventy years on, hybrid technology now moves from development phase to full commercial reality, as part of the drive to deliver significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions in the public transport arena.

 Externally and internally the new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck buses with Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini bodywork are very similar to the Volvo B9TL Double Deck bus powered by a nine litre Euro 5 compliant diesel engine, which is already a familiar sight both in London and in major cities throughout the UK and Ireland.

 Under the skin, however, lies a chassis which features parallel hybrid I-SAM technology, developed across the entire Volvo Group. It is a hybrid in that the bus is powered by a combination of an electric motor and a diesel engine, with the system being parallel in that it can be powered by either source independently, or in combination drawing on both power sources at the same time.

 The Volvo I-SAM system comprises of a combined starting motor, electric motor, generator and electronic control unit. It works in concert with a five litre Volvo diesel engine and Volvo’s highly acclaimed I-Shift gearbox system. A lithium-ion battery stores energy generated mainly from the vehicle braking system.

 The new Volvo Hybrid Double Deck buses have the potential to deliver significant savings both in terms of fuel consumption and emissions – with operating experience on Route 141 invaluable in quantifying the real benefits over an extended period of time.

 The introduction of the new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck bus follows hot on the heels of the introduction of the Volvo 7700 Hybrid Single Deck last month in Volvo’s home city of Gothenburg in Sweden. It is also part of an on-going programme across the entire Volvo Group, which includes Trucks, Construction Equipment as well as Buses.

 Speaking at the handover ceremony, President of Volvo Buses Europe Stefan Nordström said, “We are delighted to formally handover our first six Hybrid Double Deck Buses to Arriva London today. The advanced parallel hybrid technology on these vehicles, unique to the Volvo Group, has the potential to offer significant fuel savings and resultant C02 reductions, as well as significant air quality and noise benefits for other road users.”

 He added, “The continuing trend in ever higher fuel prices means that the payback period on the incremental capital cost of this technology is being further reduced, making investment in hybrid vehicles a viable option for an ever increasing number of cities in Europe and beyond.”

 Accepting delivery of the first Volvo Hybrid Double Decks, Managing Director of Arriva London Mark Yexley commented, “With the support of Transport for London, this is a pioneering project for Arriva to be involved with. These six vehicles will provide an excellent opportunity to assess the benefits and the whole life cost proposition of hybrid technology in a real life day to day operating environment.”

 Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses, said: "Transport for London has been leading the way in bringing hybrid technology into use in mainstream public transport. We have been working with manufacturers including Volvo to develop hybrid technology, and we introduced the first hybrid buses in London in March 2006.”

 He added, "We are committed to minimising the impact of public transport on the environment. Increasing the number of hybrid buses in the London Buses fleet is just one of the projects we are working on to reduce emissions and help tackle climate change."

 UK Managing Director of Volvo Bus, Steve Dewhurst, said “It is highly appropriate that we are here at Alexandra Palace today for the official introduction of our new hybrid Double Deck. When television was first broadcast to the world back in the thirties, it would have been hard to envisage what an impact this new medium would make as compared to radio, which was the established technology of the time.”

 He added, “Conventional diesel technology has made massive strides both economically and environmentally in the last 10 years. However, today sends a new signal - hybrid buses as now a commercial reality, backed by a major worldwide automotive group. With series production capacity coming on stream next year, history may view these first six vehicles as a very significant milestone in the narrative of public transport development.”


Published : Thu 9th Jul. 2009
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