Wednesday, 21st March 2018
Volvo’s first right hand drive 7900e fully electric single deck bus, which started its demonstration journey in Manchester in September last year, is heading to Kent for the third stop on its trip around the UK.
The Volvo 7900e features ‘OppCharge’ charging via an inverted pantograph, the first of its kind in the UK, and provides up to 80% lower energy consumption than an equivalent diesel bus.
Due to operate on the Fastrack A route which runs from Bluewater to Dartford, the electric bus will run in conjunction with conventional buses operated by Arriva.
Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland said: “It has been exciting watching the fully electric Volvo 7900e continue on its journey of demonstrations across the UK. Kent is the third location following the initial trial in Manchester in September last year and subsequently at Heathrow Airport.
“The 7900e, which is part of the Volvo Electromobility range, has been making great strides throughout Europe with successful operations underway in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.
“Increasingly vehicles and technologies are creating a new era in passenger transport which offers a choice to customers and a variety of options to operators. The first permanent installation using OppCharge technology in the UK will be installed in Harrogate and the project is expected to go live later in 2018.”
The zero emission, fully electric bus will be recharged on the route, taking between three - six minutes via the innovative OppCharge pantograph from ABB, a global leader in EV charging solutions. The installation offers flexibility and the possibility of 24 hour continuous operation.
Kent County Council’s Head of Public Transport, Phil Lightowler, said: “We’re very proud to be only the second local authority to trial this innovative transport scheme.
“The trial will last for seven weeks as part of Volvo and ABB’s one-year demonstration programme which will see the vehicle and infrastructure operate around the country with the majority of costs being covered by both Volvo Bus and their technical partner ABB.
“The aim of the trial is to try this new innovative electric vehicle technology for ourselves and to show that electric buses with limitless range can work for the county.
“It has great benefits for improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions which are important to all of us and will allow us to provide evidence that electric vehicles can provide both financial and environmental benefits for the council in the longer term.
“If this proves a success it will allow us to build a case to roll out similar schemes across the county.”
Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for EV Charging Infrastructure added: “As the global leader in EV fast charging solutions we are proud to be partnering with Volvo and Kent County Council on delivering the third phase of the UK’s first ever fast charging bus installation.
“The usage and feedback from the first two phases of the pilot have been very encouraging and we are delighted to be able to now bring this sustainable urban mobility solution to Kent.”
First introduced in mainland Europe in 2015, the Volvo is a two-axle bus with electric motor and four high capacity 19 kWh Lithium-ion batteries and offers zero tailpipe emissions.