Green but costly, hybrid buses far from mass production

AFP, 9 June 2009 - Fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly, hybrid buses starred at a public transportation congress in Vienna this week, but they still face a long road before becoming cost-effective on a mass scale.

With fuel consumption cut by 20 to 30 percent and CO2 emissions down by about as much -- thanks to power generated during braking -- the hybrid diesel-electric bus is the way of the future, manufacturers say.

"Eventually, there won't be any reason to drive with a traditional diesel anymore," Per-Martin Johansson, spokesman for Swedish carmaker Volvo, the world number-two after selling 10,000 buses last year, told AFP.


"Besides the immediate environmental benefit, the 40-percent premium is redeemed within five to seven years," said Johansson, who spoke at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) world congress ending Thursday.

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