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Swedish city goes all-electric with 7,900 bus order

The Swedish city of Värnamo will become the first in Northern Europe to have a fully electric bus fleet as of autumn this year, following an order for a fleet of Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrids.

The electrification of Värnamo’s bus services will contribute to a better urban environment, with less noise and improved air quality. At the same time, the buses will operate more frequently and accessibility will improve, with the construction of an all-new bus lane to accommodate the new fleet. The city’s aim is to quadruple the number of journeys by public transport over a three-year period.

“With this move we are taking yet another step in the construction of tomorrow’s attractive city, with our sights firmly set on growth, with a population of 40,000 by 2035,” said Behnam Sharo, Värnamo city architect. The city currently has 19,000 inhabitants.

“We are very pleased about the investment, it shows the possibilities to be at the forefront when it comes to new technology, even though we are situated outside Sweden’s three largest cities,” said local politician, Rune Backlund.

The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid operates on electricity and without any exhaust gases for about 70 per cent of its route. Charging the batteries at the charging station takes three to four minutes with the help of a system known as opportunity charging, or OppCharge, from Swedish supplier ABB. Compared with a diesel-powered bus, the electric hybrid uses about 60 per cent less energy. The buses operating in Värnamo will run on renewable electricity and renewable fuel, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by a claimed 90%.

The electric hybrid buses and their ABB charging station will be delivered at a fixed monthly cost, with Volvo assuming responsibility for maintenance of the buses and their batteries.

“It’s gratifying that Värnamo has now decided to lead the way and create a sustainable public transport system based on our hybrid buses,” said Martin Spjern, Key Account Manager Nordic at Volvo Buses. “Electrically powered buses are the future for both large cities and small towns.”

The programme to electrify Värnamo’s public transport is a joint effort by Värnamo municipality and county transport provider Jönköpings länstrafik.