How do electric buses work?

These vehicles can help the planet and tackle traffic – all without making a sound

(Image source: Pixabay)

Transport makes up a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions, with buses producing an average of 822 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. This is one of the leading factors inspiring the innovation of electric transport and the rise of the e-bus.

Volvo is a leading motor company that aims to provide cities with a more sustainable, efficient solution to bus travel. Eliminating harmful climate emissions is the main advantage of this electric bus system, but the Volvo 7900 Electric shows the potential for transforming journeys as we know them if all buses become electric.


Bypassing petrol stations, electric buses can charge throughout their journey with stations at every bus stop, enabling automatic charging whenever the buses pick up or unload passengers. Named ‘Opportunity Charging’ due to the e-bus’s ability to charge whenever it is near a station, this method is more energy-efficient and cost-effective, removing the need to divert individual buses from their routes.

Creating the required energy through battery charging is kinder for the planet, but what about the people who will occupy the seats inside? These buses aren’t purely a benefit to the environment, but they can also make your commute a more pleasant experience, as the e-bus makes far less noise, provides a smoother journey with no engine vibration, and has a higher focus on interior ergonomics than older, petrol-fueled buses.

The potential for bus routes could also be much greater. The lack of disturbance that comes from a silent electric vehicle opens up possibilities for new bus stop locations. Soon you may not have to step outside a shopping centre to catch the bus, as the discrete rides could stop at indoor locations with minimal disruption.

(Image source: Pixabay)

Controlling congestion

City centres such as London are renowned for their chaotic roads and stand-still traffic. With measures being put in place to create smoother vehicle flow around busy cities, e-buses aim to contribute to this progression.

The introduction of improved buses in itself is one step to reducing the traffic volumes in larger cities. With the comfort and safety of electric buses, people may become more inclined to travel on them.
This reduction in private car use will help condense traffic queues through more efficient road use.

Not only this, new systems put in place in specific areas which limit emissions, noise and speed, through the e-buses’ interlinked system, means that the number of vehicles able to withhold these driving conditions will be slimmer.

Opportunities to take routes never taken before will distribute public transport more evenly across roads. The ability to drive while creating such little noise means that quieter areas could be occupied for certain routes, whereas before they would have to take the main city centre roads like everyone else.


This article was originally published in How It Works issue 131, written by Ailsa Harvey 


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