ABB powers first electric airport busses in the UK

ABB powers first electric airport busses in the UK

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Volvo Bus and ABB have collaborated to launch a fully electric, single deck bus service for passengers, flight crew and ground crew at Birmingham Airport, the UK’s first. 

The service will have six Volvo 7900e fully electric, low emission single deck buses with charging infrstructure from ABB.

As the busses operate 24 hours a day, each one is charged en-route via two ABB 300kW ‘opportunity charging’ overhead  pantographs installed outside the airport terminal. Charging will take two to six minutes to complete, avoiding the need to spend time in the depot being ‘topped up’ with power. 

“E-mobility solutions are a key part of ABB’s Mission to Zero, which sees us pursuing sustainable technologies to support industries and cities reduce their impact on the environment,” commented Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for E-mobility Infrastructure Solutions. “We were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to support Birmingham Airport and Volvo on this landmark transport solution for the Midlands and hope this will set a precedent for other airports across the region to follow.”

As well as the pantographs, the busses can be charged from two 100kW ‘plug in’ charging points using the CCS2 connector for DC fast charging in the airport’s coach park. In the future, these charging points will be made available to other bus operators who adopt electric vehicles.

“I’m extremely proud to say we are the first UK airport to implement a fully electric landside bus service. 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 UK 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,” said Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport. 

“This is the first project of its type for the UK with Volvo supplying a turnkey solution delivering the infrastructure and civils in addition to the vehicles,” said Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland. ““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 7900es deployed in Harrogate where it is operating a full town service. Our ongoing vision and goal is to develop a range of vehicles and technologies which include hybrids, and fully electric vehicles, that will lead to better air quality for people living, working and visiting our towns and cities across the UK. These vehicles not only provide well to wheel greenhouse gas emissions benefits but also deliver zero tailpipe emissions at the airport.”

ABB has sold over 13,000 ABB DC fast chargers have been sold across 80 countries, more fast chargers than any other manufacturer.

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