Stagecoach the first client to launch Volvo BZL buses in the UK
Stagecoach has launched a fleet of 27 electric buses in West Scotland this week. The Volvo BZL buses are the first of this type to operate in the UK. They will serve routes in Ayrshire and join other electric buses by Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD.
Stagecoach West Scotland invested £15.7 million into the Volvo single-deck buses and said it will also introduce two buses by ADL-BYD, taking the total ADL fleet to 17. This means communities in Ayrshire can board 48 electric buses starting this March.
Volvo launched the BZL Electric series in the autumn 2021 with a powertrain entirely developed in-house and multiple chassis options. The chassis can accommodate three to five battery packs with NCA cells of 94 kWh each, resulting in the three battery options 282 kWh, 376 kWh and 470 kWh. Volvo has not specified ranges.
With Stagecoach becoming the first operator to opt for the new model, Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, called it a “terrific order to win”. He added that Stagecoach West Scotland was a “prestigious UK launch customer” who knew “precisely what they want from an OEM partner. They expect a strategic-level supplier to understand their needs and support their long-term goals, focusing on sustainability, safety, reliability and passenger comfort.”
The new buses offer the latest features, says Volvo, including USB charging points, an app, and contactless onboard payment.
The investment was supported by the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said she was pleased the Government was able to provide £8 million through ScotZEB. She also pointed out that this was in addition to a further 25 electric buses introduced by Stagecoach for Inverness, supported with £5.8 million in funding support from the Government.
In Inverness and Perth, the operator will transition the fleets to 100% electric this year, as reported.
Today’s launch also included news on installing 21 charging stations during recent upgrades to Stagecoach’s Kilmarnock and Ayr depots. The buses will operate from morning to night on a single daily charge.
A further 159 electric buses will be launched on Stagecoach networks in other areas of Scotland in 2023, including Aberdeen, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock. Including those in Inverness brings the total new EV fleet to 343 this year. Stagecoach aims to operate a net-zero bus fleet in the UK by 2035.
The Scottish Government has set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045.