SINGAPORE - The first 10 diesel-electric hybrid buses in a fleet of 50 will be on the road from next month (Dec 2018), as part of the national effort to make the public bus fleet here more environmentally friendly.
They will be run by operators SBS Transit and SMRT, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) when announcing the move on Monday (Nov 26). Among the first routes to get the buses is service 272 , a feeder service operated by SBS Transit in the Bukit Merah area.
In a hybrid, when brakes are applied, the electric motor acts as a generator to recover kinetic energy, which is stored in the batteries as electricity.
The buses will run on electricity at speeds of up to 17 kmh, switching to the diesel engine only at higher speeds.
They are from Volvo East Asia, which won a $30 million contract to supply the vehicles in October last year (2017).
Two trials of a Volvo hybrid bus, conducted in Singapore in 2015 and 2016, reported fuel savings of up to 40 per cent as well as "significant reductions" in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
On top of these hybrids, Singapore will start introducing electric buses on the roads from next year.
The hybrid buses are fitted with several features to benefit both commuters and drivers.
These include advanced driver-assistance systems to warn drivers of obstacles, while a camera trained on the driver's eyes will sense if he or she is dozing off and trigger a device to jolt the seat.
For commuters, an enhanced information display system - comprising two LCD screens and two LED screens - will provide more information about their routes.
The LED screens, sited at the front and back of the bus, show the next stop as well as the bus service number and final destination.
As for the LCD screens, one facing out of the bus will show the next three MRT stations along its route, as well as which lines the stations are on. The other in the bus displays the next four stops, in addition to nearby MRT stations and their lines.
This enhanced information display system will also make audio announcements of the next bus stop.
All new buses will be fitted with this enhanced display systems to help commuters plan their journeys, said the LTA.
"All these will help make the commuter experience more pleasant and encourage more people to take public transport,"said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng, who rode on one of the new hybrids on Monday (Nov 26).
The buses will be progressively deployed on different services, with details to be announced at a later date, said the LTA.
"This progressive deployment will help us better understand the operational challenges that come with the wider deployment of such buses under our tropical climate and traffic conditions," it said.
Also, it will give bus technicians and engineers more time to understand the challenges of maintaining such buses, the LTA added.