Hybrid buses: transport of the future?
Centuries after the industrial development started and promised to establish the undeniable superiority of human beings over other living organisms that share the biosphere, we stand at a point where the earth’s atmosphere and biosphere is being degraded at an alarming rate by human activities. So much so that we may be heading towards a point of no return and destroy our home with our own hands. As a result, many international conventions and conferences are being held worldwide to discuss the serious issues related to activities leading to environmental degradation. In support of an international effort to bring about responsible consumerism and sustainable development, nineteen new environmental hybrid buses are to be added to Stagecoach’s fleet in South Yorkshire.
Stagecoach Group is an international transport group which operates buses, trains, trams, express coaches and ferries in the United Kingdom and North America. The group, based in Perth, Scotland, was founded in 1980 by the current chairman, Sir Brian Souter, his sister, Ann Gloag, and her former husband Robin.
Stagecoach’s initiative to achieve a cleaner environment
Stagecoach’s hybrid buses have fifty per cent less emission.With the introduction of these hybrid buses, Stagecoach hopes to achieve a reduction in fuel consumption which will lead to the reduction in emission of greenhouse gases and cancer and other disease causing agents released during the burning of petrol and diesel. The authorities in South Yorkshire are pleased that one of the country’s leading bus companies has decided to invest on hybrid buses which reduces the demand of oil as well as emits less harmful substances in the environment.
Operation of Stagecoach’s hybrid buses
These hybrid buses are equipped with a smaller internal combustion diesel engine than the standard size, coupled with anelectric motor. At any point, the bus can be operated on either the diesel engine or the electric motor or both at the same time. When the bus breaks, the kinetic energy from the breaking motion is stored in the electric motor as potential energy. This potential energy is then utilised to run the bus when the bus starts. The parallel technology in the engine ensures that the diesel engine stops operating when the bus stops and is then later restarted using the electric motor only. The diesel engine then takes over the electric engine again when the speed is reached between fifteen kilometres per hour to twenty kilometres per hour.
Although these buses are somewhat more expensive than the mainstream buses that run on diesel or petrol, the substantial saving of energy can ensure that payback on the greater investment cost is achieved within five to seven years depending on the price of diesel.
The main objective of achieving a cleaner environment cannot be completed without public participation and support which includes daily commuters and bus drivers. Commuters should be encouraged to take the hybrid buses which are not only environment friendlier but also much more comfortable than buses operated on diesel fuel. Bus drivers should be educated and encouraged to drive with their foot on the brake pedals more often as it would charge up the battery. Authorities should be encouraged to invest on research facilities to develop the hybrid technology and decrease the fuel consumption further by developing and integrating more powerful electric motors in hybrid buses. Improved business plans should be charted to reduce repair and maintenance cost so that the breakeven point can be reached within a shorter period of time. Media can important role by promoting these buses and educating people about the environmental benefits of Stagecoach’s hybrid buses. With the support of the hybrid technology, these buses promise to take over the market in a major scale in the near future and ensure we leave a cleaner environment for generations to come.