ElectriCity take stock of Gothenburg’s pioneering electric bus service
15 June 2016 • Author(s): Mandy Parrett, Editorial Assistant
One year after the launch of Gothenburg’s all-electric concept and hybrid bus route, the ElectriCity partnership reflects on the project’s success.
Route 55 stretches between Lindholmen and Chalmers in Gothenburg and is operated by three all-electric concept buses and seven electric hybrids from Volvo. The aim is to run a three-year project to test and evaluate how electric public transport can contribute to a better and more sustainable urban environment and to examine how the technical solutions function in real life. The route is a central part of ElectriCity, a cooperative venture between the business community, research fraternity and municipality to study the benefits and potential of sustainable public transport.
ElectriCity report great success
After one year of operation, it seems that expectations have been surpassed at every level. The buses and bus stops received high ratings from both passengers and drivers alike, with the technology proving to be dependable and consistent. with the service carrying approximately 1.2 million passengers. In time for the first anniversary of the electric bus route, global ICT provider Ericsson is now joining the ElectriCity partnership.
Surveys conducted by the ElectriCity partners reveal that both passengers and drivers appreciate the new electric bus route and that the vehicles, charging infrastructure and bus stops more than meet expectations.
According to Public Transport Authority, Västtrafik, passengers are generally very satisfied with the service. The fact that the buses run on renewable electricity is regarded favourably and the bus stops at Chalmersplatsen and Teknikgatan (the city’s first in-door bus stop) are rated very highly. About 80 per cent of passengers appreciate the free WiFi on board, and no less than 93 per cent feel that the low on-board noise level is a great benefit. Measurements carried out by Volvo confirm these perceptions and show considerable differences in noise between diesel and electric power, both inside and outside the buses, particularly at low speeds.
Surveys carried out by bus operator Keolis show that the bus drivers also feel the low noise level is one of the biggest advantages of electric power, both because it contributes to a better working environment and because it is appreciated by passengers. The fact that the buses are equipped with zone management which automatically limits speed in certain areas is regarded as positive and boosts safety.
“These excellent results show that the technology for electrified bus operations is ripe for more broad-based introduction. Electric power offers new possibilities for cities to transition public transport in a sustainable direction, promoting safer traffic and a healthier environment with less noise and better air quality,” says Niklas Gustafsson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Volvo Group.
Route 55 is not only Gothenburg’s first route serviced by electric buses, but more importantly an arena for showcasing the latest technologies and developing emerging solutions; hence the reason for the thorough study of the programme.