Edinburgh gets 50 electric double deck buses
The 50 battery-electric examples, based on Volvo’s BZL Electric chassis, will pull up with bodywork from Egyptian-British bodywork specialist MCV. According to an accompanying press release, they have a 200-kW electric motor and a 470-kWh battery for a range of up to 300 kilometres on board. Overnight charging takes three to four hours at Lothian Buses’ Annandale Street depot.
Volvo Buses introduced its chassis for electric buses under the name BZL Electric two years ago. It is designed for single and double deck buses with several options for bodybuilders and features a powertrain developed entirely by Volvo. At its heart is an electric motor coupled to a two-stage automated transmission with 167 kW of continuous and 200 kW of peak power. While a dual-motor unit with an output of up to 400 kW is also available in solo buses, only the single-motor variant is available for double decks.
The BZL Electric chassis is 10,585 mm long on the double deck. A Volvo RFS-L axle is fitted at the front, and a ZF AV133 axle at the rear. 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. Lothian Buses thus opted for the largest battery. According to earlier information from Volvo, the buses based on the BZL Electric can be charged thanks to two different hardware interfaces with up to 150 kW DC and optionally via OppCharge with a maximum of 300 kW.
Commenting on her company’s order, Sarah Boyd, Managing Director of Lothian, said: “We are delighted to be working with Volvo Buses to introduce a fleet of 50 zero emission double decks to our fleet. Lothian continues to support the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council’s strategies to improve local air quality, and this level of investment ensures that we as a business are playing our part in improving air quality across the city.” Boyd describes the introduction of cleaner and greener buses as core to the company’s environmental strategy, Driving towards Net Zero, which was unveiled last week.
According to Domenico Bondi, managing director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, Lothian had been putting test vehicles through their paces for about four months before the launch. “Feedback was universally positive – from drivers, passengers, and Lothian management – plus the vehicle’s range was more than sufficient for a full day’s operation in Edinburgh, proven on even the coldest of winter days,” he says.