Operated by First Manchester for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the vehicle will be operating on the Metroshuttle 2 route – a free-to-use service that provides access to key locations across the city centre. It will be deployed for a period of eight weeks from the middle of September.
The zero emission, fully electric bus will be recharged on the route, taking between three - six minutes via the innovative OppCharge pantograph from ABB, a global leader in EV charging solutions worldwide. Installed at the Shudehill Interchange, this is the first time the system has been used in the UK, giving flexibility and the possibility of 24 hour continuous operation.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Congestion is a crippling problem facing so many roads in Greater Manchester. It affects people’s quality of life, it costs our businesses and it creates poor air quality that contributes to illness and premature death. This can’t carry on.
“That’s why I am launching my ‘congestion conversation’ today. I want to get people’s views on tackling congestion, what impact it has, what causes it and ideas on how we can work together to make things better. I want to find out what it would take to encourage people to leave their cars at home and instead use public transport, cycle to work, or car share with others.”
Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus, said: “We are very excited to see the Volvo 7900e start its first demonstration period here in Manchester. Knowing how committed Mayor Andy Burnham and TfGM are to improving air quality, we are confident the 7900e and accompanying technologies can go a long way to helping them achieve their goals.
“Part of the Volvo Electromobility range, the 7900e has already proved its worth throughout Europe, having been operated successfully in countries including Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and it is great to be seeing our full electric and emission free bus making its debut in the UK.
“At Volvo Bus we have a strong vision of supplying a blend of vehicles including hybrids, electric hybrids and full electric vehicles to towns and cities across the UK, which will significantly contribute to improving the environment for those who live, work and visit these places.
“Increasingly these vehicles and technologies are creating a new era in passenger transport when used in conjunction with each other to deliver a true customer focused solution for operators.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC), said: “It’s the first time this type of bus and charging technology has been used in the UK and so to have it debuting in Manchester is a real coup.
“I’m really proud of our green credentials but absolutely we can do more.
“We know that harmful emissions have a significant and detrimental impact on the quality of air we breathe, so it’s therefore vital that we explore the technology available to us as we look at how we can make our public transport system the greenest it can be.
“We’re going to look very closely at how it performs over the course of this trial and I’m really looking forward to seeing the results.”
First introduced in mainland Europe in 2015, the Volvo 7900e provides up to 80% lower energy consumption than an equivalent sized diesel bus. It is a two-axle bus with electric motor and four high capacity 19 kWh Lithium-ion batteries and offers zero tailpipe emissions.
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director at First Manchester, adds: “As one of the UK’s major bus operators, we understand the vital role we play in helping to solve the air quality challenge facing the country and we’re therefore thrilled to be part of the trial of the electric vehicle in Manchester.”
Ian Funnel, Managing Director for ABB in the UK, said: “As the global leader in EV charging we are proud to be partnering with Volvo to deliver this innovative technology with the first fast-charging bus installation in the UK.”
Following the Manchester trial, the vehicle will be heading for a demonstration at London’s Heathrow Airport for a period of eight weeks. This will involve transporting airport staff and customers to and from the carparks and terminals.
The first Volvo 7900e vehicles are set to enter service in the UK in early 2018 with Transdev Blazefield in Harrogate.