The world is moving steadily towards electric cars. Their green credentials are widely recognized and they are becoming easy to live with. However, electric city buses are taking a long time to come because of worries of short range and charging times. Now Scania is going to try to debunk some of the myths surrounding electric buses by introducing a fleet of them to one city in Sweden.
Sweden is a northern country, where temperatures are ranging from very low to pretty hot. Batteries do not like colder temperatures and provide much less range in winter. That is why Scania is going to start testing battery electric buses in a northern city of Östersund in Sweden. Furthermore, trials of three electric buses are going to start at the end of 2017. This means that the trial will start in winter. It should prove that electric buses are able to handle city traffic and that batteries work in harsh winter conditions as well. Additional three buses will join the fleet in 2019.
Scania is a large Swedish company, manufacturing trucks and buses. Inevitably, it already has some ecological buses in its range: hybrid electric or buses powered by biogas, bioethanol and biodiesel. However, until now it does not have a battery electric one. The reason is because city buses have to cover a lot of kilometres every day. Usually they are running without a break for hours. This means, they have to be reliable and to perform well in various conditions. Electric buses have to charge for a long time, which would eliminate them from working for a large part of the day. Furthermore, different conditions may damage their electric systems – varying load, heavy rain, snow, extreme cold and heat.
Östersund seems to be perfect for the test. It has very low temperatures in winter and moderate summers. Of course, at first charging stations will be built at both ends of the chosen route. Scania decided not to charge bus for a long time at once. Instead, buses will drive in a 14 km long route and at both ends of it there will be charging stations. Buses will be charged for 10 minutes and then will drive for 15 minutes. This cycle will be repeated for around a 100 times a day. Does not seem too exciting, but it is just a beginning and should lead to more advancements in this field.
Electric city buses make sense. They are green, silent and comfortable. Bus manufacturers should be encouraged to explore this field, but for bigger achievements advancements in battery technologies are needed.