Birmingham launches e-bus service

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An all-electric bus service has launched at Birmingham Airport in the UK, with six Volvo 7900e fully electric ultra-low-emission, single-deck buses taking center stage at the inaugural event.

The new service is part of a framework agreement initiative from Birmingham Airport for its future vehicle provision, and part of a drive to provide a truly green transportation system, while making energy savings and reducing lifecycle costs.

Birmingham Airport looked at a number of vehicle manufacturers before making the decision to go with Volvo Bus. An important consideration was the need to have a high standard of technical and service support readily available and on a local level. All of the skills support and infrastructure required by the airport are accessible via the Volvo dealership network.

With 24-hour-a-day operation a vital part of the service, each Volvo 7900e bus will be recharged en route using the OppCharge opportunity charging pantograph system.  Charging takes up to six minutes to complete, giving flexibility and enabling continuous operation.

The pantographs have been installed outside the airport terminal at stops two and four. The vehicles can also be charged by means of two 100kW CCS combo 2 chargers located at the coach park, making them the first vehicles capable of this dual-purpose charging.

The buses will operate on all parking lot routes, including the 7.5km (4.7 miles) route to the parking lot at Elmdon. They are expected to clock up an annual mileage of approximately 30,000km (18,640 miles).

Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said, “I’m extremely proud to say we are the first UK airport to implement a fully electric landside bus service. The buses are not only a big win for us in terms of the reduction in emissions, but they will also contribute to providing an improved passenger experience. The 7900e Volvo buses are considerably quieter than the buses we had in use previously and are equipped with location-based passenger updates as well as having USB charging built into every seat.

Part of Volvo’s Electromobility range, the 7900e was first introduced in mainland Europe in 2015, and provides up to 80% lower energy consumption than an equivalent-sized diesel bus. It is a two-axle bus with electric motor and four high capacity 50kWh nickel manganese cobalt batteries and offers zero tailpipe emissions.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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