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Hybrid buses unveiled in Valmiera 

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20.10.2020

Major changes to Valmiera’s public transport system – at a press conference on 15 October, nine new diesel-electric hybrid buses were unveiled, which will welcome passengers at the end of October.

 

"Hybrid buses on the City of Valmiera’s routes are a major step towards improving the living environment and a sustainable contribution to the city’s development. Being environmentally friendly is an asset and important task for all of us. So it is pleasing that, together with SIA VTU Valmiera, we have succeeded in finding the most appropriate solution for Valmiera’s public transport system and seeing ideas and technical solutions being converted from plans into reality. Many thanks to the team that worked to ensure that the new hybrid buses transport passengers along the City of Valmiera’s routes. Smooth travelling!” said Valmiera City Council Chairman Jānis Baiks.

“Valmiera’s buses have two hearts – the hybrid system and diesel engine. Diesel engines work, accumulating electricity for the hybrid system, so that when one heart is at rest, the other one makes the bus go,” said SIA Solaris Bus & Coach Latvia CEO in the Baltic States Rolands Katkevičs describing the new buses. The bus is fitted with an electric module, which, when the gas pedal is pressed, functions like an electric motor, while the brakes act as a generator. Therefore, during braking energy is regenerated and the batteries are being charged. Upon starting to drive, the energy generated is used to power the electric engine, which makes it possible to drive for a certain time with the engine switched off – saving fuel and reducing the amount of emissions. The bus driver must assess the situation. If it is evident that it will not be possible to drive faster than 20 kilometres an hour, at the slower speed it is possible to cover a distance of up to 400 metres, without consuming fuel. Upon starting to drive faster or when pressing the accelerator pedal by over 60%, the diesel engine will also be activated.

In order to ensure that the new vehicles are comfortable for bus drivers, various innovations have been introduced such as an electronic bus stop system, which shows the route, distances, keeps track of time, showing the planned time when the bus is due to stop at the next stop, and providing the driver with a comfortable and adjustable seat and other benefits. On the screens inside the bus, passengers can read which the next stop is, which will also be announced by an audio system. Both passengers and the driver will have to adjust to these vehicles psychologically, because, for example, when reaching a stop and opening the passenger doors, the bus will stall automatically, while when the bus uses the energy accrued for driving, it will drive almost noiselessly.

There is no limit to the distance that can be covered by the Gauja golden sand coloured buses and electricity charging infrastructure is not required. The decision to choose hybrid buses was made, assessing the City of Valmiera’s route network, journey lengths, taking climatic conditions into account, as well as means of ensuring that public transport services are continually provided on a sustainable basis in Valmiera.

The buses were bought for a total sum of EUR 2,999,700.

The purchase of the buses took place as part of the Cohesion Fund co-financed project “Purchase of Environmentally Friendly Public Transport for the City of Valmiera” (Agreement No.4.5.1.2/17/I/006), whose total expenditures come to EUR 2,835,000, including Cohesion Fund financing in the amount of EUR 1,906,322.

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