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Liverpool is last stop for Volvo’s UK electric demonstration trial


Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire is the last of five operators to trial Volvo’s opportunity-charged 7900E electric demonstrator, with an eight-week test about to begin in Liverpool.

The 7900E single-decker bus will operate on routes 82 and 86 from Liverpool city centre through to Garston and Liverpool South Parkway. The bus will be able to charge on route and carries ElectriCITY branding in Stagecoach colours.

Its portable ABB OppCharge inverted pantograph charging equipment has been installed at the Liverpool One interchange. It will charge the bus in between 3 and 6min.

The Liverpool trial follows earlier ones in Manchester, Heathrow Airport, the north Kent Fastrack and Cardiff. Volvo says it selected the city as the final area to be part of the scheme, citing the ongoing development of the Liverpool City Region, its important place within the Northern Powerhouse and future links to the HS2 high-speed railway, which will terminate in Manchester.

Zero emission vehicles like the Volvo 7900E will be crucial in helping realise the Liverpool City Region’s aim of becoming a zero carbon city region by 2040.

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram says: “Low and zero emission public transport has a key role to play in helping us achieve a cleaner and greener city region.  That’s why so far, working closely with bus operators, we’ve brought in buses which run on electricity, biogas or a mix of the two and re-engineered older vehicles in the fleet to reduce their emissions. In fact, many of our buses now give off less pollution than a standard diesel car.

“While this is only a short-term trial, we hope that it is a success as this kind of technology will no doubt help improve air quality in the future, which will benefit the health and wellbeing of everyone in the city region.”

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of the transport committee which oversees the work of Merseytravel, says: “One of our top priorities through the Bus Alliance is to get more people on the bus and reduce car miles and carbon footprints. To do this, it’s essential that we continue to improve the offer and benefit to customers travelling by bus. That’s why we’re committed to investing in innovative transport technology which will not only make bus services environmentally friendly, but also efficient and flexible.”

Nick Page, managing director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, says: “Liverpool marks the fifth and final stop for the fully electric Volvo 7900E trials which have taken place over the past year. It’s been exciting watching the vehicle continue on its journey of demonstrations across the UK following the initial launch in Manchester last September.

“As well as the UK trials, the 7900E which is part of the Volvo Electromobility range, has been making great strides throughout Europe with successful operations underway in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

“This is the first time that all the stakeholders have come together to deliver a project which has overall been extremely successful. Increasingly the technology of vehicles is changing the face passenger transport which offers a choice to customers and a variety of options for operators. The first permanent installation using OppCharge technology in the UK is set to go live in Harrogate in the next month or so, which will mark the next phase in the development and operation of the 7900E.”

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