Technology and finance: A coordinated approach for bus operators


As our cities grow and the pressure on transport networks increases the demand for low emission solutions will intensify. New energy-efficient technology for buses will make an important contribution to meeting air quality targets.

In London for example, the population is growing and expected to reach approximately 10 million by 2030. The city currently operates the cleanest buses in Europe and will comply with the requirements of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) for buses in central London a year early, by 2019.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to do to improve the air quality of the city. On Brixton Road, for example, more than 20 hourly readings showing concentrations of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that exceeded 200 micrograms per cubic metre were recorded within the first week of 2017. Currently, under European law, citizens should not be exposed to such high levels of NO2 more than 18 times in a year.

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Research has found that over the lifetime of a bus in London, the Siemens Hybrid solution could bring significant savings compared with other hybrid systems and even higher savings when compared with a standard diesel bus.

Although, at first examination, a hybrid bus costs more than a standard diesel bus, when looking at monthly rental alone, when savings from running a hybrid solution are factored in, the cost gap is closed.

Retrofit options are available to facilitate a simple and cost-effective transition away from diesel. Since finance for retrofits of Siemens’ hybrid solution can be offered without interest, there’s no reason for bus operators to delay retrofitting their fleets and removing exposure to battery replacement costs (typically between four to seven years on other hybrid systems).

The tailored finance of the Siemens ELFA System offered by Siemens Financial Services (SFS) looks at the TCO of a fleet, rather than the cost an individual vehicle. By analysing fleets on the basis of cost per kilometre, options can be directly compared and incorporate the full range of costs including capital expenditure, operating expenditure and any financing cost.

Instead of viewing costs of vehicles in isolation, bus operators can work with financiers who analyse the whole fleet, building a collaborative, flexible and consultative approach towards energy efficient technology as it continues to develop into the future.

Siemens' systems

Siemens’ modular Hybrid and Electric Traction System (ELFA) allows vehicle manufacturers to individually configure hybrid drives to run city buses with reduced energy, favourable costs and low emissions.

The system can be adapted for buses of any size and enables vehicle manufacturers to fulfil all of their power-mix requirements, whether it’s an ultra-capacitor (U-cap) hybrid or a pure fuel cell solution. The modular nature of the system means that it can be adapted no matter what the composition of the bus fleet.

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Additionally, the system is suitable for diesel bus retrofits, meaning that operators can take steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly straightaway.

The system offers high energy efficiency and low maintenance. Perhaps most importantly, all components are designed to last the lifetime of the bus (15 years +) which means that total cost of ownership (TCO) is extremely compelling compared to (far lower) diesel buses and other hybrid solutions.

The Series Hybrid Solution with U-cap outperforms the battery and lasts the lifetime of the bus (15 years +).

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