Moving the world - London

Red hybrid bus of the future for the streets of London

When mega city London makes a commitment to reduce emissions, tradition and new technology are combined: A classic red double-decker bus using Volvo’s latest hybrid technology carries London’s citizens just as it always has – but with up to 35% less fuel consumption.

Of all passengers using public transportation in the world, 80% go by bus. Buses are easy to use in almost all types of traffic and are in many parts of the world the only public transportation. In London, buses are one out of many means of transportation, and play an important role as the city aims to reduce traffic.

North London’s Green Lanes is a chaotic experience during rush hour. At the bus stop outside the popular pub The Fox, commuters get on and off a never-ending stream of red doubledeckers. Noise pollution from cars and diesel buses fills the street with an aggressive roar.

All this makes the contrast with Volvo’s new hybrid double-deckers all the more evident. When it arrives at the bus stop, the diesel engine shuts down completely. You are left with a comforting silence that remains even as the hybrid bus leaves the stop, only using its electric motor to accelerate.

“It’s fantastic how quiet it is when the diesel engine is turned off and it only runs on electricity,” says Daniel Clarke, one of the commuters standing in line at the bus stop. “I can’t even imagine what the difference would be if all buses were hybrids.”

Arriva’s Wood Green bus garage in North London is a pioneer of hybrid buses for London. In the summer of 2009, six brand new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Decker buses arrived at the garage that has had previous experience of hybrid technology.

“We received the first hybrid buses in 2007 and now have a total of 11 hybrid double-deckers at Wood Green. Our experience of hybrid technology has been positive and all our staff, from mechanics to drivers, are pleased to be involved,”says Ian Tarran, engineering director at Arriva London.

Transport for London, the body responsible for London’s transport system, has made the hybrid buses a key part of their strategy for public transport with less environmental impact. To really put the Volvo Hybrid Double Decker to the test, bus route 141, was selected. The route starts at Palmers Green and ends at London Bridge, with a total length of nine kilometers and a tour frequency of 6-12 minutes.

“The field tests have shown that the fuel consumption of the Volvo Hybrid Double Decker is within our goals. On route 141, the buses have the toughest cycle possible and still their fuel consumption has been reduced by over 30% compared to the regular diesel buses on route 141," says Niklas Deras at Volvo Buses.