Warrington pushes to become 100% e-bus town by 2024

Warrington, a town in England located near Liverpool and Manchester, is progressing its decarbonisation. The Borough Council has signed Volvo Buses to deliver 105 electric buses and says this is the countdown to the arrival of Warrington’s all electric bus fleet in 2024.

Warrington Council operates the services as Warrington’s Own Buses and has received government funding towards new vehicles when, in 2021, it secured £21.5 mn through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (ZEBRA).

In today’s news, the Council said it had signed an agreement for Volvo Buses for 105 electric vehicles and added that the order was thought to be one of the biggest in the UK.

Ben Wakerley, managing director of Warrington’s Own Buses, told the BBC that he felt the move was “bigger than Warrington”.

“There is a climate emergency happening and we want to contribute towards that and do our bit,” he said.

He added that he was also “excited” about the buses using the council’s own solar farm to recharge.

EO Charging will supply the chargers, which will be installed at Warrington’s new bus depot. EO Chief Executive, Charlie Jardine, said works onsite would start later this year, with the project fully delivered in Q2 2024.

“The project will see the deployment of 53 high capacity 120kW chargers from ABB, with each unit supporting overnight charging of two vehicles,” the executive explained. The depot will also use the EO Hub load management device and connect to its cloud platform.

As for the buses, Volvo launched the BZL Electric in 2021 with a powertrain entirely developed in-house and multiple chassis options. The company today added it had worked in close partnership with MCV Bus and Coach to develop the bodywork for the range, tailoring it specifically for UK fleets; the buses come as single and double-decker. In general, the BZL body 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.

Details on the layout in Warrington were not provided.

Warrington’s Own Buses covers 85 per cent of bus routes in the borough, and the conversion of its entire fleet to all-electric by next year remains ambitious. The progress being made with the ZEBRA scheme is the latest boost to transform bus services in Warrington, as part of the borough’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), as the Council writes. A range of work is underway between the council and local operators to deliver better services. This includes capping single fares at £2 for adults and £1 for those aged 5-18, until 2025, a scheme launched this month.

warringtonguardian.co.uk, bbc.co.uk


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