It’s an urban jungle out there in Santa Cruz. Like any other sprawling capital city, juggling changing infrastructure, environmental needs and transport demands is a constant strain. Now there is a new breed of green hero about to weave its way onto the scene, roll forward Tempus, the new Hybrid bus being test driven around Santa Cruz by TITSA.
It’s always worth a schoolboy snigger or two when you first see or hear the name TITSA but it stands for Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife S.A (similar to LTD ) and the Cabildo (government) owned company has been king of the Tenerife roads for 32 years. The company employs 1,700 staff, has just over 600 buses and has recently announced plans to invest 12,284 million euros on 69 new vehicles of varying sizes.
So what’s so special about the new kid on the block? Tempus was unveiled at SALT (Salon Atlantico de la Logistica y Transporte) 2010 in the Santa Cruz Recinto Ferial. For starters Tempus has two engines, one a conventional diesel but the other electric and connected to the rear wheels to handle traction. That all sounds impressive but the real bonus is that when the electric engine takes over from the diesel, it reduces fuel consumption and produces 30 % less CO2.
These buses are specifically designed for the exacting task of driving in urban areas where it’s all stop start as they negotiate junctions, tight turns, loads of pick up points, and in Tenerife the inevitable horn blasting impatient drivers. The model on display at SALT was invitingly bearing its eco friendly soul for all to see. Using recycling and reusable materials it still manages to be comfortable with 17 seats and room for a wheel chair via the fold out ramps. Tempus promises to be quieter than the old fleet, adding to the stealthy service of the trams that it will compete against on routes in La Laguna and Santa Cruz.
Topping up the electric motor couldn’t be simpler, just plug it in overnight and it’s ready to roll again the next day. For the technically minded, the Siemens traction system uses a 150 kw current generator backed with two power converters and two in wheel motors of 67 kw each.
If the trials go well, expect to see more of these smooth newcomers hitting the road, they have a lot of people to please. Last year TITSA carried 42,000,000 passengers and the capital city is by far the busiest area with trams, taxis, cars and bikes all looking for the best way from A to B. Look out for Tempus coming to a bus stop near you soon, making its own jolly green giant strides for innovation.