A full electric Volvo 7900E single decker direct from Gothenburg, Sweden, has arrived in Harrogate. It has a similar specification to the eight vehicles that will be entering service in 2018 with the Transdev Blazefield owned The Harrogate Bus Company. They are part funded by the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme. The £2.25m project being unveiled is aimed at reducing emissions in the town centre and, in conjunction with Harrogate Borough Council, moving towards an overall low emission strategy for the area.
When the vehicles enter service in 2018, the project will be the first of its kind in the UK, introducing full electric vehicles using ‘opportunity charging’ via the European ‘OPPCharge’ agreement and infrastructure, which can be used by various vehicle types. Opportunity charging takes place via a specialist overhead mast, which connects to the bus via a pantograph. Charging is fully automated and takes between three and six minutes to complete.
The buses’ introduction is part of the operator’s five year vision for public transport in Harrogate, which aims to bring the latest low emissions technology alongside a host of improvements to every aspect of bus travel. Innovations including fleetwide free Wi-Fi, USB power and next stop announcements are some of the enhancements to be made. These have previously been rolled out on the company’s flagship ‘The 36: Riding Redefined’ service linking Harrogate with Leeds and Ripon. Smoother integration with other bus and rail services is to be rolled out, along with stronger relationships with local authorities, key employers, schools, retailers, hotels and visitor attractions to encourage more people to switch to the bus. Advanced ticketing systems including contactless payment and beacon touchless mobile apps, as well as a ‘revolution in website and mobile customer communications’, will complete the business’s five year vision for Harrogate.
CEO of The Harrogate Bus Company, Alex Hornby, said, ‘This is about making Harrogate a UK leader in clean, green public transport. When we introduce our new electric buses next year, it’ll be the first time that this “next generation” power technology will be in use anywhere in the UK. We’re delighted to welcome a similar bus here to Harrogate, to show how these ground breaking new vehicles will set the pace for public transport in Britain. We’ve worked closely with Volvo on the specification for these new buses and each vehicle will receive power from one of the overhead masts, enabling completely emission free journeys from start to finish. We’re very proud to be bringing this revolutionary technology to Harrogate.’