In the UK, Birmingham Airport has put six Volvo electric buses into operation to replace the diesel buses it has used to date. ABB is supplying the charging infrastructure for the vehicles.
The electric vehicles are the Volvo 7900 Electric. However, the new electric buses will not be used on the airfield to transport passengers between the terminal and the aircraft but will instead be connecting the surrounding car parks with the airport. The airport previously operated this free service with diesel buses, which are now being replaced.
According to the airport, it has invested 1.8 million pounds (around 2.1 million euros) in this project, and the Ministry of Transport has supported the project with 1.4 million pounds (1.66 million euros) as part of a subsidy programme for buses with low CO2 emissions.
Volvo says that the 7900 Electric has 80 per cent lower energy consumption than comparable diesel buses. This was the main reason the airport switched to electric buses. “The buses are not only a big win for us in terms of the reduction in emissions, but they will also contribute to providing an improved passenger experience,” says Airport CEO Nick Barton. “The 7900e Volvo UK buses are considerably quieter than the buses we had in use previously and are equipped with location-based passenger updates as well as USB charging built into every seat,” he continued.
The buses will be charged at two ABB pantograph charging stations located in front of the terminal. Each offers 300 kW of charging power, which is expected to take between two and six minutes to charge. According to ABB, this provides flexibility and enables the continuous operation of the electric buses without having to spend time recharging in the depot. Besides, two 100 kW battery chargers (wired via CCS) were installed on the bus parking lot. These charging stations will also be made available to other bus operators in future.