The Arctic Whisper Goes into Passenger Service Only 11 Months After Project Start

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The World's first fast charged hybrid buses are now in public service in Umea, Sweden. The Arctic Whisper's hybrid bus batteries are fast charged by the Opbrid Bůsbaar for 10 minutes at the end of its route to achieve nearly 100% all-electric operation but with the reliability of diesel.

Today, Hybricon AB and Umeå Municipality took the next step in the development of the Arctic Whisper super fast rechargeable hybrid electric buses. A bus has been placed in service running on Umeå's busiest line. The first public installation of the Opbrid Bůsbaar charging station was inaugurated with a ribbon cutting by Umea Municipality representatives. The Arctic Whisper is the first in a fleet of affordable, sustainable, low carbon urban buses for Umea City.

The development of Umeå's super fast rechargeable electric buses began December 13, 2010 when the municipality of Umea decided to invest in an early development stage project with Hybricon AB (Sweden), E-Traction NV (Holland) and Opbrid SL (Spain). This included the development of a charging station and two super-fast rechargeable electric hybrid buses. The first bus was delivered in only 6 weeks for initial winter testing. The charging system went live in mid-summer, and today, just 11 months after the project commenced, public operation has begun with line 1 from Umedalen to the center of town

Hybricon's Arctic Whisper system for electrically powered city bus service has attracted a great deal of attention in the bus world. In early October, the industry confirmed Umea Municipality's investment in electric city buses when Hybricon won the prestigious Elmia Future Transport Award for the project. Now, there are a range of stakeholders in line to get started with the electrification of their bus lines in many other cities around Sweden.

Hybricon achieved this incredibly rapid progress from concept to public service by mating the Opbrid Bůsbaar fast charging station to two existing e-Traction hybrid buses, and adding additional lithium batteries for fast charging. This relatively simple process converted these hybrid buses to 100% electrical operation with the reliability of the on-board hybrid diesel backup generator. If there are ever issues due to traffic, weather, or a blackout, the bus can always revert to hybrid mode and continue on diesel temporarily.

Hybricons’ Arctic Whisper Advantages:

Electric power gives very low operating costs compared to diesel, 15 SEK vs 55 SEK for 10 km
No fossil fuel burning
No harmful emissions
No CO2 since Swedish electricity is essentially carbon free
No engine noise
Small infrastructure; An easily installed, ultra fast, automatic battery charging station at the end of the route
Diesel or biofuel backup generator for reliability in all conditions
e-Traction wheel motors with only two moving parts
Relatively small batteries for low weight and more room inside the bus

The Bůsbaar charging station from the Spanish company Opbrid SL has been installed at the end of the line in Umedalen. Each time the bus reaches the end of the line, it stops under the Bůsbaar, charges for a few minutes, and then resumes running using only electricity. The driver never has to get out, which is very important in Northern Sweden during the winter!

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Roger Bedell
Opbrid SL
+34 626 855 662
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Pär Jonsson
Hybricon AB
+46 (0)70-360 04 21
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