The first customer is Firstgroup that announces it is to order £160M of buses, 942 vehicles over the next 3 calender years. Of the 447 orders confirmed for 2011 and 2012 delivery, Volvo, with the partner Wrights, has been awarded 240 vehicles. It is the largest Volvo UK order received since 2008.
The vehicles will operate in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Bath , Berkshire, Scotland, Gosport and London. The order consists of 157 double decks, 45 single decks, and Volvo’s biggest single hybrid order so far, 38 Hybrids.
The hybrid orders follows a successful demonstration of the parallel hybrid system, where both reliability and fuel consumptions targets exceeded expectations. The hybrid order is on top of the 6 vehicles delivered to Leeds this month, and includes a 7 year contract maintenance facility.
Volvo Bus has also secured an important order from National Express Group (NEG) to supply a total of 59 new buses destined for operation in the West Midlands.
Significantly the order includes nine hybrid powered double deck buses with Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork. These will be the first vehicles of their kind in the region - delivering new levels of environmental performance and fuel economy.
In addition, Volvo will also deliver 50 single deck B7RLE buses – again with Wrightbus bodywork – on its highly fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly seven litre diesel engine chassis.
The new Volvo vehicles will be progressively delivered during the second half of 2011.
Another Volvo hybrid bus customer in the UK is Bullocks of Cheadle that have recently purchased four new Volvo B5L Hybrid double deck buses with Wrightbus bodywork for use on their key Oxford Road Link.
The green friendly vehicles will be operating on a ‘Bullocks only’ route which passes directly through the Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital grounds.
“It’s a relatively short trip of some four and half miles,” explained Alan Bullock, “but the fact we have a license to pass through the Royal Infirmary means we are quite selective when it comes to purchasing new vehicles”.
“The Volvo buses are extremely environmentally friendly, so much so that the engines automatically switch off when the bus is at a standstill, significantly reducing harmful emissions. We are hopeful that with a bit of practice it may even be possible to drive the short distance through the hospital with zero emissions, which would be absolutely fabulous”.