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Routes 55 and EL16 comes to a stop - but ElectriCity keeps on going

The demonstration arena for route 55 and EL16 comes to an end in December. After five years, the two test routes for electrified bus traffic are ready to pass on the torch to electric buses in regular traffic.

Thanks to the lessons learned at this test arena, 150 new electric buses from Volvo will roll out on 34 routes in the Gothenburg area on the 13th of December. At the same time, the ElectriCity collaboration aims at new areas where electrification can contribute to a better urban environment.

In 2013, the first step was taken to jointly begin testing the necessary technology to electrify bus traffic in the Gothenburg area. To bring together the most important parties, ElectriCity was created as a collaboration platform. In June 2015, the first electric buses rolled out on route 55 and a couple of years later, the so-called demonstration arena was supplemented with electric articulated buses on the heavily trafficked route 16.

Since the start of the collaboration, several parties have been added and a number of tests have been carried out to put in place the technology needed to scale up electrified urban bus traffic. But also, new technology connected to the benefits that the quieter, emission-free and connected electric buses entail has been tested, as a new, smoother control and solutions for, among other things, air measurement and geofence.

Some of the most important results from the lines are:

  • Lessons that provided a good basis for one of Europe's largest procurements and launches of electric buses in the Gothenburg area, which will now have the largest fleet of such vehicles in the Nordic region
  • Successful tests of new all-electric high-capacity buses on line 16.
  • High-power fast charging stations for lines with a high traffic load, which worked when scaling up
  • New test stops adapted to the quieter and cleaner electric operation, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Satisfied passengers - 98 percent of the passengers on line 55 are satisfied
  • Satisfied drivers, partly thanks to the quieter working environment with less vibration, partly thanks to tests of Volvo's proprietary steering system that reduced pain-related problems
  • Do so-called geostacks work for line 55 and line EL16, where both the driveline and speed and safety functions related to road works and cyclists? has been tested successfully
  • A digital platform where early ideas for services and products for public transport has been produced.
  • A working collaboration model that is now applied to future work at construction sites and marine

The buses have traveled a total of 1.4 million kilometers and line 55 alone has transported one million passengers a year and run a total of 123,000 trips, which has provided solid data for the parties to the collaboration.

An award-winning collaboration

The work with the demo arena has attracted great interest both in Sweden and internationally. ElectriCity and line 55 have had more than 10,000 visitors and have received four awards:

  • UITP Awards 2017
  • Euro-China Green & Smart City Award, CINEV 2016
  • CIVITAS Awards 2016
  • European Solar Prize in 2015

New opportunities

The benefits that an electrified bus service brings to the cities are many. An electric articulated bus reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 100 tonnes per bus per year, reduces energy consumption by 80 percent compared to diesel buses, contributes to cleaner air and less noise. All in all, it helps cities and regions to achieve climate goals and opens the door to a new urban planning where the quieter, cleaner and safer buses do not need as much space.

Within the ElectriCity collaboration, the parties are now looking at, among other things, how to electrify construction sites in an urban environment, with challenges concerning, among other things, energy supply and opportunities to greatly reduce noise and emissions and thus improve for both construction workers and nearby residents. We also focus on river traffic in Gothenburg, where the ElectriCity collaboration sees more exciting solutions for electrified and connected solutions. But more tests on electric buses will also be carried out within the framework of the collaboration.

Based on the lessons learned from the tests with the two electric bus lines, we are now moving forward with finding more solutions for a more sustainable Gothenburg.