East Yorkshire Buses, which operates a predominantly Volvo fleet, took up the opportunity to experience one of Volvo’s 100 per cent electric single deck buses for a three-week trial. Taking up the chance, the operator tested the vehicle on the full daily 66 service between Hull and Hessle, clocking up more than 172 kilometres a day.
Andy Benstead, Head of Engineering at East Yorkshire Buses, says: “Hull’s not really in touch with the electric commercial vehicle trend yet. This bus was the first to hit service, and for me it was quite a big thing, experiencing and understanding this new technology and what it can do.
“Considering how complex the system is, the simplicity of it is fantastic. It’s very easy to operate and delivers an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride, the regenerative braking is especially clever.”
The Volvo BZL Electric trialled by East Yorkshire Buses featured a five battery configuration, which were recharged using a portable charger at the local bus depot overnight. The vehicle’s regenerative braking system enabled a proportion of the energy that would otherwise have been lost when the bus was decelerating, to be successfully recovered as free and clean energy to help power the vehicle.
Benstead continues: “We’ve had really positive feedback from our drivers and it’s created a buzz in Hull – with passengers asking drivers whether it was going to be the same bus that would be turning up every day!
“We already have a very close working relationship with Volvo, so the great support we’ve received during the trial was no surprise. We would really like to see this technology in our area in the future.”
The strikingly futuristic blue and white livery, sporting the words ‘go electric with Volvo’, was very well received by the local community and online, with social media users posting pictures and praise across platforms such as X and Facebook. Attracting the attention of the local authority, Kerry Ryan, Strategic Transport Manager at Hull City Council, and Councillor Mark Ieronimo, Portfolio Holder for Transportation Roads, and Highways, visited East Yorkshire Buses for a test drive.
Ryan comments: “I’m aware that other cities have electric public transport options, but I had never actually been on an electric bus until the Volvo BZL Electric. The difference is astonishing, not only the sound but also the smoothness of the ride.
“We all came away very impressed, and it’s a good experience for us if an opportunity was to present itself in the future, particularly when it comes to discussing how we could support our commercial operators with infrastructure.”
Hull is not a complete stranger to electric buses, the city’s tramway network was gradually replaced with a trolleybus system beginning in 1937, but it was closed in 1964 and replaced with motor vehicles.
East Yorkshire Buses is a public transport operator headquartered at its main depot in Hull, with a fleet of more than 220 vehicles across six depots including Bridlington, Elloughton, Pocklington, Scarborough, and Withernsea. Prior to acquisition by the Go-Ahead Group in 2018, the company was known as East Yorkshire Motor Services, and was founded in 1926.
8 August 2023
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