Volvo Bus and ABB have collaborated to launch the first electric bus service to go into operation at a UK airport. The service will see six Volvo 7900e fully electric, low emission single deck buses service Birmingham Airport grounds, helping to sustainably transfer the 13 million people who visit the airport each year.
Volvo Bus selected ABB, a leading e-mobility solution provider, to support the development of a turn-key solution for the airport, which comprised the Volvo 7900e buses alongside the supply and commissioning of the charging infrastructure solutions.
Due to the requirement for 24/7 operation, each of the Volvo 7900e buses will be recharged en-route via two ABB 300kW opportunity charging pantographs installed outside the airport terminal. Charging will take two to six minutes to complete, providing flexibility and enabling continuous operation for the electric buses without having to spend time in the depot being ‘topped up’ with power.
“E-mobility solutions are a key part of ABB’s Mission to Zero, which sees us pursuing sustainable technologies to support industries and cities reduce their impact on the environment,” commented Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for E-mobility Infrastructure Solutions. “We were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to support Birmingham Airport and Volvo on this landmark transport solution for the Midlands and hope this will set a precedent for other airports across the region to follow.”
In addition to the ‘Opp Charge’ solution, two 100kW ‘plug in’ charging points using the CCS2 connector for DC fast charging have been installed in the airport’s coach park. In the future, these charging points will be made available to other bus operators who adopt electric vehicles.
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 UK buses are considerably quieter than the buses we had in use previously, and are equipped with real-time location updates as well as USB charging built into every seat.
“This is a really exciting time for the Birmingham Airport. Over the next 15 years we are investing significantly to improve our facilities and service for customers, whilst reducing our carbon footprint to reach an ambitious target of net zero carbon by 2033.”
Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, added: “After all the planning during the last 12 months, it is great to see the 7900e going into service at Birmingham Airport, providing a fantastic environmentally friendly bus service for airport customers and stakeholders. This is the first project of its type for the UK with Volvo supplying a turnkey solution delivering the infrastructure and civils in addition to the vehicles.
“The 7900e has been tried and tested here and throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany and Luxembourg. As well as a UK wide demonstration tour, there are eight 7900es deployed in Harrogate where it is operating a full town service. In all instances, it has demonstrated the contribution that can be made to improving air quality where it is in service.
“Our ongoing vision and goal is to develop a range of vehicles and technologies which include hybrids, and fully electric vehicles, that will lead to better air quality for people living, working and visiting our towns and cities across the UK. These vehicles not only provide well to wheel greenhouse gas emissions benefits but also deliver zero tailpipe emissions at the airport.”
As a leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, ABB offers the full range of charging solutions for electric cars, electric and hybrid buses as well as electrification for ships and railways. ABB entered the e-mobility market back in 2010, and today more than 13,000 ABB DC fast chargers have been sold across 80 countries, more fast chargers than any other manufacturer. Part of the ABB Ability portfolio of digital solutions, ABB chargers benefit from cloud connectivity, which allows for remote diagnosis and management, ensuring reliable and efficient infrastructure for bus passengers.