Karin Rådström at Busworld exhibition 2017 Kortrijk, Belgium Photo: Peggy Bergman 2017

Bus maker Scania says it will be moving forward towards series production of battery electric buses following encouraging results in a six-month trial of the battery electric Scania Citywide buses in the northern Swedish city of Östersund.

Scania, it appears, has been a bit more cautious and circumspect about large scale bus electrification compared with some of its rivals taking a measured approach, however results of the Swedish trial appear to be have convinced the second Swedish maker to move ahead with the concept.

Head of Buses and Coaches for Scania, Karin Rådström speaking at the IAA in Hanover, says the trial demonstrated an uptime level which is basically in line with its conventional buses.

“The buses are performing very well and both the operator and the public transport authority are pleased,” said Rådström.

In developing battery electric buses, Scania says it adheres to its modular philosophy to meet diverging demands.

“We know that all cities and operators have varying demands and that won’t change just because the buses are electrically powered. However, robustness and uptime will remain as important as ever,” said Rådström.

“In the long run, the total cost of operating battery electric buses will come down since we can use and reuse technology and the same parts as in our conventional buses,”  she added.

“That will also enable us to provide a wide range of different versions of electric buses, such as articulated variants and buses with different bodies,” she said.

In an obvious statement of logic that many7 electric vehicle advocates tend to gloss over at times, Rådström underlined that battery electric buses are only effective in curbing carbon emissions if the charging electricity is generated through clean energy.

“In Östersund, the buses are charged on hydroelectric power and are thereby fully fossil free, otherwise, it’s actually better to operate a diesel bus.”

Scania says that battery electric buses are best suited for inner city bus operations that actually only account for one-fifth of bus operations in urban areas.

“In different areas of the city, there will be different needs, our electric bus has its place in the inner city but in suburbs and in traffic between the inner city and suburbs we have other solutions that we believe are more suitable such as buses fuelled by natural and biogas as well as our hybrid buses.”

Meanwhile, Scania says it is continuing its trials in Östersund to the delight of passengers. “They like riding the electric bus because it’s quiet and the journey is very comfortable, and happy customers are what ultimately drives our business,” says Rådström.