After one year of Volvo Bus’s electric bus service, expectations have been surpassed
“Although the electric bus models aren’t available yet in South Africa due to several local infrastructural challenges, this project in Sweden serves as a wonderful benchmark of just what can be achieved,” says Marius Botha, General Manager of Volvo Bus South Africa.
“Lessons learned on the project will definitely be considered should such a project become viable in South Africa.”
Opinion polls on the pilot project indicate that the buses and bus stops receive high ratings by passengers and drivers alike. From the operators’ side, the technology available is working very dependably.
The success of the project is evident in the fact that over the past year the service has carried about 1,2 million passengers.
According to studies done by the Public Transport Authority Västtrafik in Gothenburg, passengers are generally very satisfied with the service. The fact that the buses run on renewable electricity is regarded favourably, and the bus stops are rated very highly.
About 80% of passengers appreciate the free WiFi on board, and no less than 93% 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.
80% of passengers appreciate the free WiFi on board, and 93% feel that the low on-board noise level is a great benefit
Surveys carried out by bus operator Keolis showed that the bus drivers also feel the low noise level is one of the biggest advantages of electric power because it contributes to a better working environment. The fact that the buses are equipped with zone management, which automatically limits speed in certain areas, is also regarded as a positive boost for safety.
The latest vehicle and charging infrastructure statistics from Volvo, Keolis and Västtrafik show that the results are on a par with or have exceeded the targets for charging function, punctuality and service provision.
“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,” said Niklas Gustafsson, chief sustainability officer of Volvo Group.
Electric power offers new possibilities for cities to transition public transport in a sustainable direction
The immense interest in Route 55 is confirmed by visitor numbers. So far more than 100 delegations totalling almost 5 500 participants from cities the world over have visited Gothenburg to see how the cooperative electro-mobility project and its traffic operation actually work in practice.