Long-distance traveling is often a tedious experience, and for the longest time, most people have preferred using planes or trains because, compared to buses and coaches, they take less time. However, some still prefer coaches because of their inexpensiveness. The world is moving with technological trends, and so are we. The transport industry is not left behind. There are now long-distance electric coaches that offer more than cost-effectiveness. They provide comfort, with enticing services like free Wi-Fi, reclining seats, and toilets, to ensure that your trip across Europe is one you can remember fondly.
Since the introduction of e-mobility, where long-distance coaches can be powered by electricity instead of oil and natural gas, long-distance coaches have models that keep getting better with time. Volvo has introduced two models, Volvo 9900 and 9700, and has designed them with crisp lines and smooth sides on the exterior. Volvo 9900 is luxurious, while 9700 is versatile. These two models are part of the new 9000 range that has technology accurate to Volvo's tradition. This technology makes it among the safest coach ranges on the market. Both models have detailed solutions for passive and active safety, features like powerful frontal-impact protection (FIP) and a Driver Alert system. The alert system monitors how the bus moves and issues an alert if the driver is not concentrating on the road or if they are tired.
There are other models that these coaches have been categorized in; PHEV is plug-in electric vehicles, FCEV is fuel-cell electric vehicles, there are trolleybuses and BEV, which are battery electric vehicles. With the growing sales of battery and plug-in electric vehicles in the past few years, there has been a need for improving the availability of charging infrastructure, which is still growing, especially across Central Europe. By 2013, there already was an installation of more than 20,000 public charging stations for electric vehicles. Out of these 20,000 stations, more than 1000 were for the DC fast-charging option. For eBus charging, there are two mainly used techniques; overnight charging, depot-only charging, overnight opportunity charging, and daytime recharge. However, the latter has technical and practical requirements that make it unsuitable for electric buses yet. Among these requirements are the balancing needs of batteries. An overnight charger has about 30 to 50 kilowatts, while the opportunity chargers, also called the superchargers, have more than 150 kilowatts.
There are three main technical options for these long-distance coaches; pantograph, plug-in, and induction. How best an option is, depends on the charging strategy used. The Plug-in technique is primarily used in depot-only strategy because it requires less additional equipment making it very simple to use. Pantographs are where a wire is linked to the coach. The wire is from the power source. This method is mostly used in opportunity charging. It, however, is still unevenly distributed throughout Europe despite the rise in e-mobility and is driven by the public sector. Induction is rarely used because it is more expensive than the rest. Here, the coach is charged by contactless electromagnetic charge. Various auto bodies manufacture long-distance coaches. For example, the first electric bus in France was manufactured by BYD Autos, a vehicle manufacturer in China. These manufacturers are spread across countries and even continents like Proterra, a prominent manufacturer in North America. In Europe, there are manufacturers, which aim at sustainability with CO2-free emissions and fuel-cell technology, NIF group, Irizar, and Mercedes Benz Citaro that has manufactured over 40 battery-powered electric buses in Germany and promising to deliver more in other parts of Europe.