Commenced in January 2007
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2 Preferences of Electric Buses in Public Transport; Conclusions from Real Life Testing in Eight Swedish Municipalities

Authors: Sven Borén, Lisiana Nurhadi, Henrik Ny


From a theoretical perspective, electric buses can be more sustainable and can be cheaper than fossil fuelled buses in city traffic. The authors have not found other studies based on actual urban public transport in Swedish winter climate. Further on, noise measurements from buses for the European market were found old. The aims of this follow-up study was therefore to test and possibly verify in a real-life environment how energy efficient and silent electric buses are, and then conclude on if electric buses are preferable to use in public transport. The Ebusco 2.0 electric bus, fitted with a 311 kWh battery pack, was used and the tests were carried out during November 2014-April 2015 in eight municipalities in the south of Sweden. Six tests took place in urban traffic and two took place in more of a rural traffic setting. The energy use for propulsion was measured via logging of the internal system in the bus and via an external charging meter. The average energy use turned out to be 8% less (0,96 kWh/km) than assumed in the earlier theoretical study. This rate allows for a 320 km range in public urban traffic. The interior of the bus was kept warm by a diesel heater (biodiesel will probably be used in a future operational traffic situation), which used 0,67 kWh/km in January. This verified that electric buses can be up to 25% cheaper when used in public transport in cities for about eight years. The noise was found to be lower, primarily during acceleration, than for buses with combustion engines in urban bus traffic. According to our surveys, most passengers and drivers appreciated the silent and comfortable ride and preferred electric buses rather than combustion engine buses. Bus operators and passenger transport executives were also positive to start using electric buses for public transport. The operators did however point out that procurement processes need to account for eventual risks regarding this new technology, along with personnel education. The study revealed that it is possible to establish a charging infrastructure for almost all studied bus lines. However, design of a charging infrastructure for each municipality requires further investigations, including electric grid capacity analysis, smart location of charging points, and tailored schedules to allow fast charging. In conclusion, electric buses proved to be a preferable alternative for all stakeholders involved in public bus transport in the studied municipalities. However, in order to electric buses to be a prominent support for sustainable development, they need to be charged either by stand-alone units or via an expansion of the electric grid, and the electricity should be made from new renewable sources.

Keywords: Sustainability, Electric, Bus, Noise, GreenCharge.

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1 A Strategic Sustainability Analysis of Electric Vehicles in EU Today and Towards 2050

Authors: Sven Borén, Henrik Ny


Ambitions within the EU for moving towards sustainable transport include major emission reductions for fossil fuel road vehicles, especially for buses, trucks, and cars. The electric driveline seems to be an attractive solution for such development. This study first applied the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development to compare sustainability effects of today’s fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles that have batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. The study then addressed a scenario were electric vehicles might be in majority in Europe by 2050. The methodology called Strategic Lifecycle Assessment was first used, were each life cycle phase was assessed for violations against sustainability principles. This indicates where further analysis could be done in order to quantify the magnitude of each violation, and later to create alternative strategies and actions that lead towards sustainability. A Life Cycle Assessment of combustion engine cars, plug-in hybrid cars, battery electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars was then conducted to compare and quantify environmental impacts. The authors found major violations of sustainability principles like use of fossil fuels, which contribute to the increase of emission related impacts such as climate change, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, and particulate matters. Other violations were found, such as use of scarce materials for batteries and fuel cells, and also for most life cycle phases for all vehicles when using fossil fuel vehicles for mining, production and transport. Still, the studied current battery and hydrogen fuel cell cars have less severe violations than fossil fuel cars. The life cycle assessment revealed that fossil fuel cars have overall considerably higher environmental impacts compared to electric cars as long as the latter are powered by renewable electricity. By 2050, there will likely be even more sustainable alternatives than the studied electric vehicles when the EU electricity mix mainly should stem from renewable sources, batteries should be recycled, fuel cells should be a mature technology for use in vehicles (containing no scarce materials), and electric drivelines should have replaced combustion engines in other sectors. An uncertainty for fuel cells in 2050 is whether the production of hydrogen will have had time to switch to renewable resources. If so, that would contribute even more to a sustainable development. Except for being adopted in the GreenCharge roadmap, the authors suggest that the results can contribute to planning in the upcoming decades for a sustainable increase of EVs in Europe, and potentially serve as an inspiration for other smaller or larger regions. Further studies could map the environmental effects in LCA further, and include other road vehicles to get a more precise perception of how much they could affect sustainable development.

Keywords: Strategic, electric vehicles, fuel cell, LCA, sustainability.

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