Volvo electric bus to go on test in Kent

Volvo’s first right-hand drive 7900e fully electric single deck bus is heading to Kent for a seven-week trial as part of Volvo and ABB’s one-year demonstration programme which will see the vehicle and infrastructure operate around the country.

First introduced in mainland Europe in 2015, the Volvo 7900e is a two-axle bus with electric motor and four high capacity 19 kWh Lithium-ion batteries. It 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.

The zero-emission, fully electric bus will be recharged on the route, taking between three and 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.

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. 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.”

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 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.”

Michael Dalton
Michael Dalton
Michael graduated from university in 2016 with a degree in Human, Social, and Political Sciences, and is a former contributor to The Truck Expert.

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