Gothenburg, Sweden has introduced a fleet of electric buses that use 80% less energy than standard diesel vehicles. The emission-free ElectriCity buses are equipped with Wi-Fi, charging stations and touch screens for commuters to browse the Internet. The buses charge in just three to six minutes, and 100,000 people currently use them monthly.
Results & Impact
There are 3 fully electric buses and 12 hybrids in operation, serving more than 100,000 people per month. The ElectriCity buses are 80% more energy-efficient than standard diesel versions. Commuter satisfaction is high: 80% of passengers are happy with the Wi-Fi and 90% like that the buses go into hospitals so people can board without having to go outside
The City of Gothenburg, The Volvo Group, Västra Götalandsregionen, Västtrafik, Chalmers University of Technology, Swedish Energy Agency, Johanneberg Science Park, Lindholmen Science Park, Business Region Göteborg, Göteborg Energi, Keolis, Älvstranden Utveckling, Akademiska Hus, Chalmersfastigheter, Ericsson
The Volvo Group pioneered the project and developed the buses for Gothenburg. Chalmers University of Technology conducts research for ElectriCity, and Göteborg Energi built renewable energy and charging infrastructure to power the buses. Ericsson provides technology infrastructure, including Wi-Fi, power sockets and touch screens, which passengers can use to browse the Internet. The partners work together to develop and test new sustainable transport solutions, and share open data in a cloud platform to inspire new business models. The bus runs on renewable wind and hydro power, and its electric motors are powered by lithium-ion batteries. They recharge in three to six minutes at electricity grids positioned at two end stops
Road users, city dwellers
Cost & Value
Running since 2015
The biggest challenge for ElectriCity was working with such a large group of partners. According to Helena Lind, the project demanded that organisations “move out of their comfort zones” throughout the design and implementation process to reach their common goal
Gothenburg, Sweden has introduced a fleet of 10 electric, emission-free buses equipped with Wi-Fi, touch screens and device charging.
The ElectriCity buses are 80% more energy-efficient than standard diesel versions, and run silently. There are currently three fully electric buses and 12 hybrids in operation, serving more than 100,000 people per month. The buses charge at electricity grids in just three to six minutes.
“[We] believe that electric buses can help create the cities of the future: cities with less noise, congestion and bad air quality,” said Helena Lind, Media Relations Manager for the Volvo Group, which pioneered the project. “Electric buses can be driven in environments that today are not accessible to vehicular traffic, and even enter indoors in hospitals, shopping centres, libraries, and so on. This opens up completely new opportunities for urban planning and route planning.
“This will make Gothenburg an even more attractive city to live in and set the example for other cities to follow,” said Lind.
ElectriCity is a collaboration between the City of Gothenburg, Volvo, transit operators, universities and business authorities, with 15 stakeholders in total. The Volvo Group initiated ElectriCity in 2015 as part of its push toward sustainability in public transit, and developed the buses for Gothenburg.
Chalmers University of Technology conducts research for ElectriCity, with the goal of disseminating the project throughout western Sweden. Göteborg Energi built renewable energy and charging infrastructure to power the buses. Telecommunications multinational Ericsson provides technology infrastructure, including free Wi-Fi, power sockets and touch screens, which passengers can use to browse the Internet.
The partners work together to develop and test new sustainable transport solutions, and share open data in a cloud platform designed to inspire new business models.
“Electric buses are more expensive to purchase than conventional buses, but looking at the complete life cycle of the vehicle, this is a more competitive solution compared with conventional buses,” said Lind. “With the same amount of energy that you use to drive one gas-fuelled bus, you can drive at least three electric buses. The climate impact of the buses is virtually non-existent, since they are powered by electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and water.”
By implementing the exhaust-free buses, Gothenburg is moving closer to an ambitious sustainability goal: the city aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from road transport by 80% by 2030 compared to its 2010 baseline.
The ElectriCity bus’s electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries. When the bus slows down, the braking effect generates electricity that is used to recharge batteries. The buses recharge in three to six minutes at electricity grids positioned at two end stops. The power stations are built on an OPPCharge interface that can charge buses from different manufacturers.
The buses have a unique indoor boarding system, which allows for greater accessibility at select stops in hospitals and supermarkets. They also have a safety feature that limits speed around schools and other sensitive areas.
According to Lind, the biggest challenge for ElectriCity is coordinating between 15 stakeholders from the private sector, academia and government at once. “It has demanded that organisations move out of their comfort zones and dare to make new decisions. ElectriCity is based on the principle of co-creation, where partners that have questions work together to find answers.” Lind said that the partners were united by their common goal: to show the world that Gothenburg is forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to sustainable transport.
Gothenburg hopes the noiseless buses will improve liveability in the city. Commuter satisfaction is high: 80% of passengers are happy with the Wi-Fi and 90% like the indoor boarding option.
The project began with a pilot in 2015. Three test buses ran along the two Chalmers University of Technology campuses in Johanneberg and Lindholmen.
(Picture credit: ElectriCity)