TMB (Barcelona metropolitan transport company) has set its sights on renewing its fleet of buses, with the envisaged incorporation of 27 new hybrid-engine vehicles during the course of 2016. This is the continuation of a strategy that has led Barcelona to be considered the city with the cleanest fleet of buses in Europe since 2012.

Taking advantage of the 12 new hybrid articulated Volvo 7900 buses that were put into service last March, the Swedish manufacturer highlighted Barcelona local authorities’ strong conviction in an electric system of transport that started four years ago with the purchase of the first five buses and will continue in 2016 with a record number of 27 new models, 15 of which are expected to arrive at the end of the year. These will join the 55 hybrids already in operation in the city. TMB is also able to boast the fact that 38% of its fleet of buses are powered by CNG (compressed natural gas).

The Volvo 7900 uses a parallel hybrid system of a 240CV four-cylinder diesel engine and a 204CV electric engine connected to a set of 19kwh lithium-ion batteries, allowing it to travel for up to 30 kilometres an hour powered entirely by electricity. When it reaches a higher speed, it switches to its diesel engine. In addition to the obvious reduction in emissions that these engines represent, they also substantially boost the comfort of their passengers since electrically powered systems guarantee a more pleasant journey by accelerating more smoothly and making less noise (up to 65 decibels less).

With a consumption of about 11 litres per 100 km, this hybrid bus consumes up to 81% less energy than a diesel one. If we add the cost of the electricity that the Volvo 7900 consumes, 60% savings are guaranteed. Likewise, CO2 and NOx emissions are reduced by about 30% and particles by between 40 and 50%, thus complying with Euro 5 and EEV emission levels. Barcelona saves 8,640 euros a year in fuel with each of its hybrids.

These new replacement vehicles in Greater Barcelona can be added to the hybrids that TMB already owns and the ones powered by natural gas, amounting to 411 of its 1065 vehicles. By the end of the year, all the metropolitan bus lines are scheduled to have at least one of these buses. Barcelona City Council and AMB (Barcelona metropolitan authorities) are both carrying out specific initiatives to make the move toward electric mobility in the city. Bearing in mind the fact that the other public transport systems in Greater Barcelona are the underground, Catalonia Regional Government’s railway system, and its tram system, the progressive renewal of its fleet of buses forms part of an ongoing move toward a system of public mobility that makes Barcelona a leading reference point in sustainable public transport.

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