Volvo Builds First Hybrid Bus

By dancurranjr On October 8th, 2008

Volvo is bringing the world’s first hybrid bus to market. Since the Swedish automaker isn’t yet selling a hybrid car, this seems like a case of the Swedes focusing their efforts where their competitors are not.

Called the Volvo 7700, the bus will employ both an electric motor and diesel-powered engine. Volvo engineers say the hybrid technology will mean a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency. The first buses will be delivered to customers next year and mass production will begin in early 2010.

Sweden, like its Scandinavian neighbors, is passionate about clean technology. That’s why it’s surprising that the carmaker has emerged as a laggard in alternative vehicles.

Perhaps it’s the company’s commitment to excellence that has held back its introduction of a hybrid vehicle. Its first true hybrid car—not bus—won’t be out until 2012.

The Volvo public relations gang would have you think differently. The company has a “micro-hybrid” slated for introduction in 2011, but that’s misleading since it will be propelled exclusively by a combustion engine. The Swedes apparently thinks they can legitimately wield the “hybrid” dagger because the car will turn off its engine when it’s at a standstill. A good idea, yes, but hybrid, no.

Lastly, somewhere over the rainbow and after 2012, Volvo plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid. Rechargeable through a household power outlet, the technology, tentatively called Volvo ReCharge, would allow a car to go 100 km on battery power alone.

So Volvo might be slow out of the gate, but if their record is a fair indication of their future, these cars should be an impressive blend of style and substance mixed, in this case, with a shade of green.

Source: Red Herring

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