Namur: 29.000 litres of fuel saved every month thanks to hybrid buses
Since the 16th of January 2017, the fleet of hybrid buses operated by the TEC in the Namur region have driven 2,3 million kilometres and saved 29.000 litres of fuel compared to conventional buses. The now 46 unit strong fleet uses five pantographs to charge up between stops. The TEC’s regional manager is happy but thinks more can be done in Namur to favour buses and reduce congestion.
Back in January 2017, the public transport company (TEC) of Namur purchased eleven Volvo 7900 hybrid buses. Since then, the pilot project has grown into a fleet of 46 buses active every day. In nearly two years, they have accumulated 2,3 million kilometres and saved around 29.000 litres of fuel. “Instead of consuming 45 litres per 100 kilometres, we’re at 18 litres”, explains the TEC Namur-Luxembourg manager, Jean-Marc Evrard.
Fully electric in the city centre
With five pantographs that allow buses to charge up between stops – 6 minutes of charge equals 7 kilometres of range – the on-board computer calculates the consumption and keeps a reserve of electricity to drive without the internal combustion engine in the city centre.
“The travel time is calculated by taking the charge into account but it has consequences during peak hours”, explains the manager, “if the bus is late, it has no time to charge up and must continue its journey.” The average economy is therefore lower than the expected 70%.
Prioritize the bus
In order to solve this problem, one solution would be to change traffic lanes.” We must prioritize buses. A trip that should take three minutes sometimes takes more than 25 minutes during peak hours. If we want to convince people to stop using their cars, we need to be on time”, adds Jean-Marc Evrard.
For now, 46 hybrid buses are considered as enough and investments are focused on the construction of charging stations. One just open in Salzinnes and another one should see the light of day in Beez.
‘Same cost after 16 years’
According to the buses manufacturer, the cost of hybrid buses and charging stations ends up being the same as the running costs of conventional buses after the 16 years running period. Volvo points out to the fact that hybrid buses not only consume less fuel, they also require less oil and maintenance.
For Jean-Marc Evrard, it’s a win-win solution. “The fuel consumption has dropped and Volvo says that the cost will be the same and the end. Furthermore, buses are quieter and vibrate less which is better for our drivers who spend eight hours a day aboard”, ends the manager.