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What could be better than a bus for moving lots of people around the streets of North America’s cities?

How about a zero-emission bus?

It’s not a new discovery that mass transit is better for the environment than driving everywhere in your own car. And in busy urban centers, it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that a well-designed transit system can get you where you’re going faster than a car stuck in a traffic jam. But buses have been around for a while, and hopping on a bus isn’t usually thought of as an exciting trip to the future. Using clean energy for transportation, though, really is the wave of the future. And an opportunity to experience that future for yourself may not be very far off now.

That’s because ABB is teaming up with one of North America’s biggest bus manufacturers to supply the market with a new system for fast-charging of all-electric, zero-emission urban buses. The new technology speaks to people’s need to move easily from place to place – for work, for education, for their personal lives … even for purposes of artistic and political self-expression. Study after study has shown that congestion and pollution in cities serve as barriers to prosperity, opportunity and, ultimately, freedom.

As with any pattern of behavior that has lasted a long time, such as people’s relationships with their cars or the habit of relying on traditional energy sources, sometimes breaking free of tradition is not easy. Even so, new trends among millennials demonstrate that a much more fluid approach to personal mobility is possible, and we’re seeing increasing numbers of young adults living without a driver’s license or the intent to purchase a car.

Transportation accounts for over 40 percent of all greenhouse gases, and today’s generation, and many of their parents, are rethinking the relationship between traditional transportation technologies and their own behavior. A basic change in thinking about mobility and sustainability has led to increased demand for public transportation, as a primary way to move people around cities and urban regions.

Innovation is the key to success in developing clean energy solutions and infrastructure for EV transportation that meets people’s changing needs. That’s why an electric bus manufacturer like Volvo Buses is working closely with a technology supplier like ABB. This collaboration builds on the mutual strengths of the two partners. For example, ABB’s DC fast charger, with its associated systems, is based on a common interface that allows charging stations and electric buses from different manufacturers to be used together without extensive retrofitting. With this remarkable technology, a bus only needs three to four minutes to boost its battery power at the charging stations along its route.

The collaboration between ABB and Volvo Buses’ Canadian subsidiary, Nova Bus, will draw on the expertise on hand at ABB’s new North American center for excellence in e-mobility – located in the new ABB campus in Montreal. The research center is heavily engaged in cooperating with local and regional partners on innovations calculated to accelerate the deployment of energy-efficient electrification infrastructure for electric cars, buses and trains.
Electricity is in the air, as ABB works on building new relationships between people, cities and sustainable transportation. The end result will be that we can all breathe fresher air and live in an atmosphere that is quieter, cleaner and less stressful. Now, that is a destination we would all like to hop on a bus to get to.

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