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Acid test for Volvo’s electric buses

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In June, two prototype all-electric Volvo articulated buses will start work on a high-frequency route in the Swedish city of Gothenburg with large passenger numbers.

Chairman of public transport company Vasttrafik, Lars Holmin, said by testing the buses on a route carrying many passengers, the company could give more people an attractive alternative to taking their own cars.

“The new all-electric buses are far quieter than diesel buses and they emit absolutely no exhaust gases,” Mr Holmin said. “They will also form an important basis for decisions about future investments in electric buses.”

The two new Volvos are 18.7m-long, high-capacity articulated buses with space for up to 135 passengers, of whom 38 can be seated. The buses have four double doors, large unobstructed floor surfaces and ergonomically designed bars, grab handles and backrests for standing passengers.

The objective is to allow a large number of passengers to board and exit the bus quickly at every stop. Free wi-fi, charging points for mobile phones and enhanced traffic information are all standard equipment.

The batteries are specified to run without needing a recharging break during peak hours. Instead, recharging will take place when there is less traffic, either at one of the two charging stations now being built on the route or when the buses return to the depot.

Peter Langworthy

Vale Peter Langworthy

One of the most influential transport industry executives of recent years has sadly succumbed to cancer.

Peter Langworthy was Heavy Vehicle Industry of Australia president until last November, when his health forced him to resign.

Along with his role at the HVIA, Mr Langworthy was the managing director of Dana Australia, a key supplier of axles, differentials and other heavy-duty components to truck manufacturers here and overseas.

Mr Langworthy joined Dana in 2010 and took the company through significant growth over his seven- year stint, including establishing a new plant and HQ in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Prior to his time with Dana, he worked in senior management roles at Kenworth Trucks and Iveco.

He was at Iveco in 2009 when I did a story on truck manufacturing in Australia. After a photographic tour of the Dandenong factory, Mr Langworthy was clearly niggled at the sight of parts and components lying around while assembly workers stepped over them.

I rang him a week or so later to tell him as gently as I could the photos didn’t picture the factory in a favourable light — I couldn’t use them.

That’s when he told me he’d resigned because his sense of order and organisation made it impossible to continue.

At the next Brisbane Truck Show, he’d joined Dana Australia as its MD, and he was already lamenting the low standard of display on the company stand.

“We’ll fix that,” he said — and he did, making future Dana show displays vibrant, expansive and informative.

Peter’s attention to detail and quality in every role he filled will be sorely missed.

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