The buses will primarily be based in the Kilmarnock depot and will be in use on Service One routes serving the Irvine Valley, comprising of towns such as Hurlford, Darvel, Galston and Newmilns. This is a semi-rural inter-urban route and was the first of this type in the UK to deploy opportunity charge vehicles.
Managing Director of Stagecoach West Scotland, Fiona Doherty outlined their main rationale behind the decision to purchase the six Volvo 7900e buses: “The route we were purchasing for demanded an opportunity charge vehicle, as some routes will cover 270 miles in a day. As a result, the 7900e was the best choice for us. The Volvo 7900e can cover up to 100 miles between battery replenishment so the passengers and drivers will be more than satisfied on the service.”
Fiona added: “It’s good to see this bus in operation in Kilmarnock, the 7900e brings an environmentally-friendly service for all our customers and stakeholders, I’m sure everyone will be extremely pleased with its comfort and performance.”
Service One has a history of environmental innovation with Stagecoach having launched and operated the UK’s first 100% biodiesel fleet on this route in 2008.
To accommodate this bus, Stagecoach have created a charging infrastructure with a gantry-mounted pantograph charger (300kW) installed in the Kilmarnock bus station. The Volvo 7900e boasts a variety of features that help promote environmental care and sustainability such as the ‘OppCharge system’. This open architecture gives rapid and fully automatic charging at end stations to keep productivity up and enable the vehicles to stay in service throughout the day. It charges the roof mounted Energy Storage System with the vehicles providing up to 80% lower energy consumption than an equivalent sized diesel bus.
Daniel Barwick, National Account Manager for Volvo Buses, said: “Stagecoach are a long-standing Volvo Bus operator and partner, and this order is a fantastic opportunity for Stagecoach to showcase the adaptability of these electric vehicles by using them across rural routes. These vehicles will help Stagecoach drive down emissions in their operation and improve air quality in the area. Delivering sustainable transport solutions is something we are putting all our efforts into at Volvo Bus.”
Stagecoach Group is a Scottish transport group based in Perth, Scotland. It operates buses, express coaches, and a tram service in the United Kingdom.