07 May 2019


Volvo Buses recently received an order for six fully electric buses from Birmingham Airport in the United Kingdom. The six buses will endure heavy operation in a 24/7 service. Due to this requirement the buses will be recharged en route using the opportunity charging pantograph system. Charging takes up to six minutes. For Birmingham Airport this means flexibility and a continuous operation without having to spend time in the depot being ‘topped up’ with power.

The order is the result of a review undertaken by Birmingham Airport into its future vehicle provision. This has led to plans to provide a truly ‘green’ transport system, while at the same time making savings on energy and life cycle costs. The buses are set to go into service in November this year. The Volvo 7900 Electric is a two-axle bus with electric motor and four high capacity 200 kWh lithium-ion batteries.

Initially two pantographs will be installed outside of the airport terminal with plans to install further pantographs around the bus route if the services are expanded. In addition, ‘plug in’ charging points will also be available in the Airport’s coach park. In the future, these charging points will be made available to other bus operators who adopt electric vehicles. The buses will operate on all car park routes around the airport, with the longest being 7.5 km. Nick Barton, CEO at Birmingham Airport: “Since 2012 the Airport has reduced its CO2 per passenger by 20% per passenger. Implementing the six electric buses will work towards lowering our CO2 per passenger even further.”

The Volvo 7900 Electric has been involved in a series of trials at locations around the UK, including Greater Manchester, Cardiff, Liverpool and Heathrow Airport. A fleet of eight buses of the same specification have recently entered full service in Harrogate, all using the same pantograph technology.

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