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28 November 2013

Braunschweig launches world’s first inductive fast-charging electric bus

Image: Bombardier

The world’s first inductive fast charging station for electric buses was introduced in Braunschweig, Germany. Local transport operator Braunschweiger Verkehrs-AG and Bombardier Transportation opened an inductive charging station with an output of 200 kW at Braunschweig main station. From December 2013 onwards, the inner-city circular bus line M19 will switch to fully electric operation. 

The service will initially start with a 12-metre long electric bus, which will later on be followed by an 18-metre articulated bus. The buses from manufacturer Solaris are fully charged overnight at the depot. On the 12 km route, the battery will be recharged during a ten minute stop at the terminus. The articulated bus will need to be recharged for a few seconds at two intermediate stops as well. The buses are equipped with a wireless fast charging system and high power batteries.

The scheme is part of a research project in Braunschweig on e-mobility via inductive charging called emil. A video illustrating the system is available in German.

More information: Bombardier & Braunschweiger Verkehrs-AG (in German)

25 November 2013

EU reaches agreement on new CO₂ emission limits

The European Union has reached a compromise on CO₂ emission limits for new cars, on Tuesday, 26 November 2013. The agreement follows a six-month dispute after Germany backtracked from an earlier deal.

The new agreement delays implementation of a limit of 95 grams of CO₂ per kilometre for all new cars to 2021. The previous deadline was 2020.

It also gives more leeway to German luxury car manufacturers like BMW and Daimler whose cars have higher emissions. So-called supercredits allow manufacturers to claim credits for low-emission vehicles in their fleet, so that they can in turn continue to produce heavily polluting vehicles as well.

Source: Reuters

13 November 2013

Over 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air


More than 90 percent of people in European cities breathe air that the World Health Organisation warns lead to respiratory problems, heart disease and shortened lives, a recent study by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found.

The report identified road transport as one of the main causes of the problem. While some air pollutants like sulphur dioxide have successfully been reduced over the past ten years, especially particulate matter (PM) and ground-level ozone continue to be a concern.

Euro engine standards have resulted in substantial declines in NOx and PM emissions from vehicles over the last decade despite the large increase in the number of vehicles and total traffic activity, the EEA reports. Between 2002 and 2011, NOx emissions decreased by 31 percent, PM10 by 24 percent and PM25 by 27 percent in the EU.  Still, the report stresses that a significant proportion of Europe's population live in cities, where exceedances of air quality standards regularly occur.

The report also warns that real-world driving conditions often exceed test-cycle limits specified in the Euro emission standards.

More information: EEA website

11 November 2013

World‘s first Euro VI articulated hybrid bus tested in Lucerne

The City of Lucerne, Switzerland, is testing the world’s first Euro VI articulated hybrid bus from Volvo. After 100 days and more than 14,000 kilometres, public transport operator vbl is happy with the results.

The prototype was put in operation on 8 July 2013 to test its real life performance.  After 100 days, the tests show that diesel consumption is reduced by 28 percent, drivers are happy and thanks to the hybrid technology, emissions and noise are down, as well.

In a passenger survey 80 percent have rated the level of comfort on the bus as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ and the vast majority supports vbl’s move towards more environmentally friendly buses. The pilot test will continue until summer 2014.

Source: press release vbl (pdf, in German)

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