Trondheim transitions to fossil fuel-free buses

While Trondheim only has a population of 193,000 residents, the historic city ranks the third largest in Norway. The city, which is home to 30,000 students alone, is slowly catching up to Nordic neighbours like Stockholm and Helsinki, which are known as the region’s start-up capitals. While Trondheim is emerging as Norway’s tech hub and gaining attention for innovative solutions like Wireless Trondheim, a network that drives progress testing future technologies and hardware development, the city is now making a mark in the transportation sector—specifically with its public bus system. With the introduction of an electric bus project, the city plans to go fossil fuel-free by 2019. Let’s dive deeper into the changes underway. -Bruno De Man 


A new era for public transport

When Trondheim debuts 35 new fully electric buses next year, it will operate the largest electric bus fleet in Norway. The city plans to introduce 25 buses from Volvo and 10 from Heuliez Bus, which will run along four routes. While the buses hail from two different manufacturers, they will both feature the same charging equipment, with heavy vehicle chargers (HVCs) powered by Swedish-Swiss tech company ABB. The new fleet will operate along routes ranging between 12 and 15 kilometres, with HVC 450P chargers placed at each end so buses can recharge in between shifts. Batteries can quickly be recharged in just three- to six minutes, and since they’ll feature connected services, they can be managed remotely, ensuring any issues will quickly be fixed in less downtime. Not only will this result in a more efficient fleet, saving the city both time and money, the electric buses will also help the city meet its carbon-neutral goals since they’re emission-free. According to Per Olav Hopsø, head of transport committee for Trøndelag County Council, in an article on Intelligent Transport: “Working with ABB has enabled us to deliver a high quality and reliable solution which allows operators from different networks to work simultaneously and share infrastructure. This not only provides good economies of scale and return on investment but continues to support our forward-thinking approach in delivering first-rate modern infrastructure for our region.”

In addition to rolling out a revamped fleet of buses, the city also launched an AI-powered smart bicycle counter on one of its major streets as a way to encourage more people to ride bikes, which would help significantly in the city’s plan to clear up traffic congestion. Currently, in the trial stage, the counter, which is located on the side of Prinsens Gate, can offer real-time information on traffic flow using low-cost sensors to track cars, pedestrians, bikes and even animals. By monitoring traffic with AI-powered devices such as this, and by introducing electric bus fleets, the city is solving traffic issues in one of the most efficient and cost-friendly ways possible, while also making Trondheim a greener (and cleaner) city to live in.