At present, car transport causes three-fourths of the emissions in the atmosphere. The climate package of the European Commission for year 2020 aims at efficient utilization of energy resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The use of train transport may contribute toward this aim. It was found that if goods in Europe continue to be transported by lorries, emissions of greenhouse gases will have risen by more than 40% from 2000 to 2015. If, however, at least 40% of the total goods are transported by railway transport, there will not be any increase in the emissions at all. The statistics have also showed that public transport produces 50% less of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides than passenger cars.
If you, for example, decide to travel from Prague to Berlin and choose between a car, an airplane and a train, railwaycomes out as the cleanest and most environmentally friendly way of transport. Rolling resistance between a steel wheel and a rail is ranks lower than between a tire and asphalt. In passenger transportation, a train consumes 0.03 kg of fuel per passenger-kilometer, a car 0.056 kg and an airplane even 0.074 kg of fuel (after appropriate conversion into equivalent fuel). In cargo transportation a train or a ship require 0.01 kg of fuel for the transport of tonne-kilometre of goods, in the case of a car the consumption is 5 times higher. On the world scale railway transport produces 130mil.m3 of CO2, cars, on the other hand, produce 35 times more CO2. Compared with car transportation, public transportation consumes on average 3.4 less energy and plays therefore an important role in finding a solution for the environment protection.
Investment in public transportation is therefore mainly investment in the environment, because railways are less energy intensive and more environmentally friendly than other types of transportation. Combustion engines are on top of that 3 to 4 times less efficient than electric motors.
In accordance with requirements for the sustainable development, Škoda Transportation develops systems which cause less pollution and noise, show higher energy efficiency and have lower operating costs. One of the many examples is the use of electric traction or energy recovery technology. The Škoda Electric company made use of an electric drive employing the possibility of an integrated diesel generator and supercapacitators in 45 trolleybuses in the Italian city of Rome, and this ranks it again among the technological leaders in the field of trolleybus supply.
A new trihybrid bus uses hydrogen fuel cells and is characterized by zero emissions. The bus is currently undergoing trial runs with passengers, and the company continues in its intensive work on the development of hybrid vehicles. Optimization of energy storage elements, especially of lithium traction batteries and supercapacitators, constitutes also a part of development.
Hybrid cars represent an important intermediate step on the way to an electric bus. Škoda Electric works on this technology with the aim to take full advantage of the current leading-edge technology in electrical engineering (the most advanced semiconductors, a traction motor with high efficiency and a high-capacity traction battery) and to optimize the properties of a thus powered bus (range of vehicles, seating capacity, weight per axle).