Electric Volvo fleet for Transdev Blazefield in Harrogate
Harrogate is to become the first UK city to embrace Volvo’s City Mobility concept with the introduction of eight full-electric 7900e buses along with opportunity charging infrastructure to cover three short Transdev Blazefield routes in the city with delivery expected in the first quarter of 2018.
The contracts for the buses and infrastructure is backed by a successful bid to OLEV’s Low Emission Bus Scheme and the operator is starting a contracting process for the infrastructure alongside the order for eight 7900e buses from Volvo. The electric buses will be able to use three charging units which are to be installed in Harrogate’s bus station.
Globally, Volvo has agreements with both Siemens and ABB for the supply of roadside units which can re-charge electric and electric hybrid buses via an overhead pantograph. Volvo has pioneered an ‘open standard’ for the charging units, in partnership with a number of other European manufacturers, which will allow operators and cities to ‘mix and match’ electric-powered vehicles from different manufacturers.
Volvo had previously identified Edinburgh as the likely launching stage for its electric and electric hybrid concept under the City Mobility banner; this has been delayed, although not yet shelved, according to Volvo.
However the launch of the Harrogate project will provide an important focus for Volvo which has long pioneered an electric future for urban public transport. The manufacturer will also use the forthcoming Euro Bus Expo for a world premiere of its Electric Hybrid double-deck bus which combines an emission-free electric-only option for up to around 7km with a ‘conventional’ full hybrid for use when electric power is not available.
The new B5LHC double-deck chassis will be launched with a Wrightbus SRM body and two vehicles are due to go into service in London during 2017 in a trial that will involve the installation of roadside opportunity charging units.
The B5LHC double-deck follows on from Volvo’s 7900 single-deck Electric Hybrid bus that was launched in 2014. The B5LHC driveline is an extension of the technology used in the Volvo B5LH Hybrid with the use of a more powerful electric motor, increased capacity lithium ion battery rated at 19kWh, and roof-mounted equipment for opportunity charging.
Pointing to the success of the existing trial of electric and electric hybrid buses in Gothenburg and elsewhere, Volvo commercial sales director Phil Owen says that the new electric hybrid double-deck builds on a proven system. “We know that the technology works,” he says, “but this trial is about showing how opportunity charging can work in a busy operational environment.”
The world premiere of the B5LHC at Birmingham’s Euro Bus Expo on 1 November will be attended by TfL managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels and president of Volvo Buses Håkan Agnevall.
Also at the NEC show, the new Jonckheere JHV2 body on Volvo’s B11R coach chassis will make its debut with launch orders for the updated model totalling 34, including 8 for Travellers Choice and 10 for Park’s of Hamilton.
The new JHV2 includes a redesigned dashboard with improved layout and an integrated I-Shift lever, as well as increased locker capacity with a new offside locker designated for drivers’ use. The new coach also features a new Brava seat from Fainsa and comes complete with reversing camera, LED lights at front and rear and improved Thermo King climate control.