– We hope for a really cold winter, with temperatures around -30 degrees, to test this properly, says Johan Casselgren, Associate Professor in Experimental Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology, who also participated in the procurement of the new electric bus route.
The bew electric bus route is a collaboration between Luleå Lokaltrafik, Luleå Energi and Luleå Municipality. The latter aims that 75% of the local public transportation will be driven by fossil free vehicles by 2020.
Five electric buses – run by renewable electricity from hydropower – have been purchased from Finnish manufacturer Linkker. In mid-October was the premiere for Europe's northernmost electric bus route, that operates between Porsön and Kronan in Luleå.
Tested in freezing conditions
The average temperature in Luleå in December, January and February is usually around -10 degrees Celsius, but Johan Casselgren is hoping for significantly cooler temperatures, so that the buses' capacity will be tested in really freezing conditions.
– We will set up a weather station at one of the charging stations to be able to follow the connection between the weather and the buses' charging needs. It will be very exciting to see how the electric buses can handle the winter climate, he says, adding:
– Not only is the temperature interesting but also how the charge is affected by snow on, for example, connectors and charging stations, as it is important that the buses are in the correct position relative to the charging stations. This may mean that winter road maintenance in these places needs to be done in a different way than before.