It’s time to hit the road for batch of electric bus at Birmingham airport. Six Volvo 7900e, whose purchase was announced in March 2019, are fitting the airport’s plan to reach a target of net zero carbon emission by 2033.

The new service is part of a framework agreement initiative from the airport for its future vehicle provision with a drive to provide a truly ‘green’ transport system, while at the same time making energy savings and reducing life cycle costs. The electric are charged via roof-pantograph and operational 24/7.

Therefore, Birmingham follows Brussels and Schiphol airports, where electric buses are already in operation for shuttle services. In Brussels a fleet of 30 BYD ebuses began operations in March 2019 for the transport of passengers from the gate to the plane. In summer it was announced that also Oslo airport will take delivery of eight electric buses: the chosen model is VDL Citea articulated. Back in the UK, in Scotland, Glasgow Airport bought a fleet of three ADL – BYD zero emission buses.

electric bus birmingham airport

24/7 operations for electric buses at Birmingham Airport

Volvo Bus and the 7900e were chosen by Birmingham Airport following a process which looked at a number of vehicle manufacturers before making the decision to go with Volvo, the manufacturer explains.

With 24/7 operation being a vital part of the service, each Volvo 7900e bus will be recharged en route using the ’OppCharge’ opportunity charging pantograph system.  Charging takes up to six minutes to complete, giving flexibility and enabling continuous operation. The Volvo 7900e for Birmingham Airport is equipped with 200 kWh NMC batteries split in four modules.

Electric buses as shuttles at Birmingham Airport

The pantographs have been installed outside the airport terminal at stops two and four. The vehicles can also be charged by 2 100kW CCS combo 2 chargers located at the coach park.

The buses will operate on all car park routes, including the 7.5km route which operates out to the car park at Elmdon and are expected to clock up an annual mileage of approximately 30,000km.

electric bus birmingham airport

The first time for opportunity charging on airport services

Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “After all the planning during the last 12 months, it is great to see the 7900 Electric going into service at Birmingham Airport, providing a fantastic environmentally friendly bus service for airport customers and stakeholders.  This is the first project of its type for the UK using the ‘OppCharge’ opportunity charging pantograph system for an airport service, with Volvo supplying a turnkey solution delivering the infrastructure and civils in addition to the vehicles.

“The 7900e has been tried and tested here and throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany and Luxembourg.  As well as a UK wide demonstration tour, there are eight Volvo 7900es deployed in Harrogate where it is operating a full town service.  In all instances, it has demonstrated the contribution that can be made to improving air quality where it is in service.

Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: “I’m extremely proud to say we are the first UK airport to implement six fully electric landside buses which will operate via a fast charging pantograph system. 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. The 7900e Volvo 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.

volvo 7900e birmingham airport


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