The Volvo team were joined by customers and stakeholders from both the private and public sectors, as well as press for two special ‘Electric Avenue’ Electromobility experience days held at Donington Park in Derbyshire. Those attending on the day were not only able to see and ride on a selection of Volvo buses and coaches, but also had the opportunity to test drive the vehicles for themselves.
Taking centre stage at the event was the Volvo 7900e full electric single deck bus which is already successfully operating in Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Following the event, the vehicle will be embarking on a UK demonstration programme during the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. The Volvo 7900e will be making its operational debut during 2018 with TransDev Blazefield, when eight vehicles will be entering service in Harrogate.
Speaking at the event, Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus, said: “We are naturally very excited to have the first right hand drive 7900e arrive in the UK and it has been great to have the opportunity to showcase this latest addition to our Electromobility range here today to our guests.
“The Electric Avenue event was conceived to highlight and discuss with customers and stakeholders, some of the challenges that our society is facing in relation to public transport. These include factors such as our current approach to urban planning, the environment and noise pollution, and how the Volvo Electromobility range can play a key role in meeting these challenges.
“At the event we have focused on five key messages which centre around the delivery of emission-free environments, that are quiet and provide world class safe transport for the people who live and work in urban areas. We have also looked at the new urban planning possibilities that electrified vehicles can create, while showcasing the proven technology that Electromobility can and will deliver now and in the future.”
Delegates were driven around the Electric Avenue on the Donington Park test track on board the 7900e, calling at five ‘stations’ where short presentations were made on each element, followed by a Q&A session and discussion opportunity.
Completing the Electromobility range together with the 7900e at the event was the Volvo B5LH double deck hybrid, originally introduced in London in 2009 and market leader in the UK, and the Volvo B5LHC double deck electric hybrid, which was launched at the Euro Bus Expo in November 2016.
The Volvo 7900e is charged via the OppCharge system, which can take place either on the service route or at the terminus. Opportunity charging allows the vehicles to have smaller and lighter batteries which keeps the unladen weight of the vehicle to a minimum and takes up less space within the bus.