Volvo Buses announces it has begun the first demonstration of its 100% electric city bus in real operation in Latin America.

The Volvo BZL Electric will run on two routes in Curitiba, Brazil, which connect dozens of neighbourhoods, transporting 135,000 passengers daily and integrating with the city’s BRT in several terminals, according to the information released by the Swedish OEM. Further demonstrations of the Volvo BZL Electric will follow in São Paulo, Bogotá, Colombia and Santiago, Chile.

Volvo electric bus demonstration in Latin America

The demonstration in Curitiba is meeting the requirements of URBS, the public transport authority overseeing the acquisition of electric buses for the city from 2024. During the demonstration, important assessments of key factors, such as energy consumption, autonomy, noise level and vehicle performance within the city’s topography will be carried out.

The Volvo BZL Electric 4×2 chassis is intended for urban and metropolitan operations, and it is equipped with 94kWh batteries (it is unclear if the bus is equipped for fast charging through pantograph, as such battery capacity is quite limited compared to the average over 300 kWh on the same length). The Curitiba demonstration vehicle has four batteries, it is powered by a 200kW electric motor, and for the demonstration it is built in accordance with URBS requirements for electric buses. The vehicle is 12.6 meters long and carries up to 80 passengers. It will operate throughout the day and charge at night.

The vehicle features Zone Management to automatically lower speed in sensitive locations, such as schools, indoor terminals and busy urban areas. When it was first introduced on bi-articulated vehicles in Curitiba in 2018, it reduced accidents by 50% in the first year, Volvo Buses says.

Volvo electric buses: next stop LATAM

“These electric buses represent another step on our electrification journey. We have a zero vision – zero emissions, zero noise, zero accidents and zero congestion – and we are fully committed to creating sustainable people transport solutions,” says André Marques, President of Volvo Buses in Latin America.

“The performance of Volvo electric buses in Europe and in several countries on other continents is very positive. Now we are going to show that this performance will be repeated in the challenging conditions we have in Latin America,” says Alexandre Selski, Director of Electromobility at Volvo Buses in Latin America.

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