TEC hybrid buses burn 25% more diesel than budgeted
TEC, the Walloon public transport company, has invested in 55 Volvo hybrid buses in the Charleroi region, but for the moment they have consumed 25% more diesel (or 38.000 euro) than budgeted.
The buses were supposed to help reduce the environmental footprint of public transport in the city. The experience has not brought the expected results: the new fleet consumed tens of thousands of litres more diesel than expected during the first five months of the experiment, or an increase of 25%.
More than 500.000 euro over budget
While the manufacturer announced an average consumption of 25 litre of diesel per 100 km, the fleet has burnt an average of 31,2 litre with peaks of over 37 litre. In the end, expenses at the pump were 38.000 euro higher. The additional maintenance costs must also be taken into account. These are estimated to be 514.440 euro, with the prospect of putting the 2018 accounts in the red.
More CO2 and fine particles
“Two of the four charging stations are still not installed”, says sales manager Véronique Benoît, to explain the reason for the excessive consumption. However, it was on the basis of this infrastructure that the successful tenderer had made his estimates.
When hybrid buses are used in low emission areas, they should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70%, thanks to a 100% green energy supply. This target has not been achieved because TEC was only able to rely on one of its four foreseen electric charging points in Charleroi to fill up its bus batteries.
TEC stays optimistic
One station was inaccessible due to road works (Châtelet), for another they had to wait for the town planning permit (Gosselies) or the adaptation of a high-voltage electric cabin (Jumet), but everything will be operational in September.
TEC is even studying the project to equip two other terminals (Montignies-sur-Sambre and Bomerée) with equipment initially intended for the Namur network, but nothing is decided at this stage. TEC’s chairman, Gérard Monseux, stays optimistic: “We should end the year with a lower deficit than expected”.
The Volvo 7900 Hybrid, which is used in Charleroi, is a popular bus type of the Swedish manufacturer. Volvo sells the bus as “the most fuel-efficient and reliable hybrid bus on the market, saving up to 39%”. The bus, available as a city and regional bus, is built in the factory of Carrus in Wroclaw in Poland.
Volvo has sold a total of more than 3.800 buses of this type to 22 countries. The biggest markets are the UK, Colombia and Spain, but the buses operate, or still are part of a test, in cities as diverse as Göteborg, Hamburg, Breda, Brussels and Louvain.
Normally, a hybrid bus consumes up to 25% less fuel than a conventional bus, so less CO2 is released in the air.