Volvo’s fully electric bus has embarked on a demonstration tour throughout the UK. Starting in Manchester at an event attended by new Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the trial features ‘OppCharge’ opportunity charging via a pantograph for the first time in a major British city.
Operated by First Manchester for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the vehicle will be operating on the Metroshuttle 2 route – a free-to-use service that provides access to key locations across the city centre. It will be deployed for a period of eight weeks from the middle of September. Following the Manchester trial, the vehicle will be heading for a demonstration at London’s Heathrow Airport for a period of eight weeks. This will involve transporting airport staff and customers to and from the car parks and terminals.
The zero emission, fully electric bus will be recharged on the route in Manchester, taking between three – six minutes via the innovative OppCharge pantograph from ABB. Installed at the Shudehill Interchange, this is the first time the system has been used in the UK, giving flexibility and the possibility of 24 hour continuous operation.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Congestion is a crippling problem facing so many roads in Greater Manchester. It affects people’s quality of life, it costs our businesses and it creates poor air quality that contributes to illness and premature death. This can’t carry on. That’s why I am launching my ‘congestion conversation’ today. I want to get people’s views on tackling congestion, what impact it has, what causes it and ideas on how we can work together to make things better. I want to find out what it would take to encourage people to leave their cars at home and instead use public transport, cycle to work, or car share with others.”
Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus, said: “We are very excited to see the Volvo 7900e start its first demonstration period here in Manchester. Knowing how committed Mayor Andy Burnham and TfGM are to improving air quality, we are confident the 7900e and accompanying technologies can go a long way to helping them achieve their goals. “Part of the Volvo electromobility range, the Volvo 7900 Electric has already proved its worth throughout Europe, having been operated successfully in countries including Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and it is great to be seeing our full electric and emission free bus making its debut in the UK.”
“At Volvo Bus we have a strong vision of supplying a blend of vehicles including hybrids, electric hybrids and full electric vehicles to towns and cities across the UK, which will significantly contribute to improving the environment for those who live, work and visit these places. Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC), said: “It’s the first time this type of bus and charging technology has been used in the UK and so to have it debuting in Manchester is a real coup.“I’m really proud of our green credentials but absolutely we can do more. We know that harmful emissions have a significant and detrimental impact on the quality of air we breathe, so it’s therefore vital that we explore the technology available to us as we look at how we can make our public transport system the greenest it can be.”
“We’re going to look very closely at how it performs over the course of this trial and I’m really looking forward to seeing the results.” The first Volvo 7900 Electric vehicles are set to enter service in the UK in early 2018 in Harrogate. Volvo has received orders for its fully electric bus from markets including Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden. In total, Volvo has sold 3,600 electrified buses worldwide.