Volvo electric buses: quiet enough for classic-music concerts


One advantage of electric city buses is the lack of noise from their powertrains.

That makes it much easier to read a book, take a nap, or even listen to some live music.

This week, the only guaranteed way to do the latter may be to ride a Volvo electric bus in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Today and tomorrow, electric buses will host concerts by children from the Side by Side by El Sistema international music camp, which is being held in Gothenburg this week.

The camp is part of the El Sistema music school, and gives children the opportunity to learn from professional orchestra musicians.

The bus concerts are cooperative effort between the camp, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and ElectriCity—a partnership of the city government, businesses, and other relevant groups to promote green public transport.

Concert on Volvo electric bus, Gothenburg, Sweden

Concert on Volvo electric bus, Gothenburg, Sweden

Swedish artists Zara Larsson and Seinabo Sey previously performed on Volvo electric buses in promotional concerts collectively called the "Silent Bus Sessions."

The fleet of three all-electric buses and seven hybrids entered service on Gothenburg's Route 55 a year ago.

Since then, they have carried a combined 1.2 million passengers, says Volvo Buses, now a separate entity from passenger-car manufacturer Volvo Cars.

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It is one of several makers vying to meet increasing interest in all-electric buses on the part of city transit authorities across the world.

As for the concerts, Route 55 runs between Chalmers Johanneberg and Chalmers Lindholmen, through the center of the city.

Charging stations for the buses are located at the two terminals.

Volvo electric bus

Volvo electric bus

In addition to their electrified powertrains, the buses are equipped with "zone management," which automatically restricts speed in areas where that is necessary, as well as onboard wi-fi.

Each bus is 10.7 meters (35.1 feet) long, and can carry up to 86 passengers.

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Volvo hopes to begin sales of a slightly larger production version later this year.

It also plans to continue the Route 55 pilot program for two years, during which time the company and other entities will continue testing the buses and other efficiency-related technologies.

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