The ‘Warwickshire – Leading the Charge’ event was attended by 25 representatives from local authorities from the West Midlands region, including those from Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, Transport for West Midlands, Nuneaton County Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Rugby Borough Council. Delegates were given a series of presentations promoting Volvo Bus’ Electromobility technologies. This was followed by an opportunity for delegates to see and ride on the first right hand drive, single deck full electric Volvo 7900e bus.
Speaking at the event, Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus, said: “The 7900e arrived in the UK just last month and we have already showcased it to customers, press and colleagues from the bus and coach sector.
“Today we are delighted to have representatives here from some of the leading local authorities in and around the West Midlands to see and experience the 7900e and all it offers. We’d like to encourage anyone responsible for transport within local authorities and councils who were unable to attend today, to contact us to find out more.
“We share many of the ideals and aims of the ‘Warwickshire - Leading the Charge’ campaign, and as a local company, it seemed logical to get involved with Warwickshire County Council for this event.
“Our society faces a number of challenges concerning public transport, specifically in relation to the environment and noise pollution. While much of the current focus is on the larger towns and cities, it is equally important to consider the transport needs of market towns and villages too. We believe the Volvo Electromobility range can play a key role in meeting these challenges.
“Within our presentations, we have focused on five key messages which are pivotal to the delivery of quiet and emission-free environments. Our aim is to promote safe, world class transport for the people who live and work in both rural and urban areas, while showcasing the proven technology that Electromobility can and will deliver now and in the future.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Warwickshire County Council's leader and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “We take great pride in Warwickshire being a hub of transport innovation and we have a broad range of diverse businesses who are leading the way in their fields.
“We are delighted that Volvo has premises in Warwickshire, bringing employment to the region. And, of course, we are also tremendously excited by this new electric vehicle, which complements the council's environmental agenda and commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.”
The ‘Warwickshire - Leading the Charge’ initiative has been developed by Warwickshire County Council with Alcester based Greenwatt Technology. This is in response to a growing demand for electric vehicles and in turn, an expectation that the necessary infrastructure will be in place to meet the requirements of all users of electric vehicles. The aim is to establish a low emission transport action plan for the sub-region with a range of partner stakeholders. This includes the establishment of a future transport technology centre to showcase electric vehicles and other low emission transport technologies. Other elements of the plan involve planning and establishing a network of public access charge points across Warwickshire.
Mike Woollacott, Greenwatt’s Managing Director, said: “It is really encouraging to see public and private organisations working together to achieve the necessary transition to low emission transport. Everybody deserves better air quality and to enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles whether city based or in more rural areas as found across the Midlands. We are really excited at the prospect of Warwickshire hosting the future transport showcase at Stoneleigh Park as part the County Council’s initiative.”
Volvo’s 7900e is the latest addition to the Electromobility range and is already successfully operating in Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. The vehicle is set to embark on a UK demonstration programme during autumn 2017 and into 2018. It will also be making its operational debut during 2018 with TransDev Blazefield, when eight vehicles will be entering service in Harrogate.
Other vehicles in the Electromobility range are the well established Volvo B5LH hybrid, which was introduced in 2009, and is now the market leader in the UK, and the Volvo B5LHC electric hybrid which operates in both electric and diesel mode.
The Electromobility vehicles are part of Volvo’s global strategy to provide cleaner, quieter and more energy efficient public transport in towns and cities throughout the world.