Spanish capital city will deploy Scania’s hybrid buses to improve air quality

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In what is being seen as a major commercial and environmental breakthrough, Swedish bus and truck manufacturer Scania will start delivering 51 of its hybridized Citywide buses to the Spanish capital of Madrid in June.

The buses that are going to Madrid feature cost-saving and emission-reducing hybrid technology that meets the European Union’s (EU) suburban and short-distance Class II regulations. The city has recently enforced tough temporary measures to tackle pollution, including limiting speed limits, and banning passenger car access to the city center, if nitrogen oxide levels exceed acceptable levels.

In parallel, the Madrid transport authorities have required bus operators to gradually switch to greener technology. Conventional diesel power has not been permitted in new bus acquisitions since 2010. The Spanish regional authorities are encouraging passenger transport companies to operate at least 20% of their fleets on gas, as hybrids, or as electric buses. Restrictions on the use of gas vehicles in non-adapted underground bus depots have prompted operators to select hybrid technology.

The 51 buses will be put in service by seven operators on behalf of Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid, which holds responsibility for public transport in the Madrid Region. The first operator will be Alsa (Nat-Ex), followed by Samar, Avanza (ADO) and DBlas (Arriva).

The new Class II specification Citywide buses can be operated at speeds of up to 62mph (100km/h). The hybrid powertrain includes the Scania 9-litre engine and offers 320hp, with SCR-only technology that is compatible with up to 100% biodiesel and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). On the Citywide buses, the hybrid unit, comprising an electric machine (motor and generator) and automatic clutch, is located between the engine and gearbox, with the unit rated at 150kW and 1,050Nm. A total of 1.2kWh of energy storage is provided by a lithium-ion battery integrated in the roof structure at the front of the bus, and is housed in a neatly styled bulb, together with a DC/DC voltage converter and a cooling unit. The use of a hybrid system, together with a DC/DC converter, stop-start function, and eco-roll, provides significant fuel savings.

“We are delighted that Madrid has recognized the advantages of our innovative hybrid technology and placed such a significant order,” said Klas Dahlberg, head of Scania’s buses and coaches division. “Many cities are cautiously examining the benefits of hybridization, but Madrid is now a leader in actually implementing alternative technology. These buses can help reduce CO? emissions and make a substantial contribution to the agreed climate targets. This bus is ideally suited for combined city and suburban operations. That gives customers the opportunity to invest in carbon-saving operations, with an estimated payback of just over five years, including battery replacements during the lifespan. By comparison, payback is some two years later in purely inner-city operations.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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