Electric Volvos are a rural first
Six Volvo 7900e electric single-deckers have entered service with Stagecoach West Scotland. They have been heralded as the UK’s first electric bus fleet serving rural communities by the operator.
Five of the six new all-electric buses were funded by £2million from SP Energy Networks’ £20million Green Economy Fund and will operate on a Stagecoach West Scotland route connecting villages along the Irvine Valley with Kilmarnock town centre. Due to the length of the rural bus route, this project will be the first in Scotland to introduce opportunity charging.
The introduction of Scotland’s first pantograph charging point at Kilmarnock Bus Station will provide the on-route charging for the new electric vehicles. This fast-charging point supplies the power through electrical connectors built into the roof of the buses.
According to Stagecoach West Scotland, the new opportunity charging buses can travel up to 100 miles on a full charge. Using opportunity charging, a full day’s service with a daily distance of up to 270 miles will be covered per vehicle.
The new vehicles have USB charging points, interior LED lights and benefit from a low noise level to provide a better overall customer experience.
“Traditionally electric buses have only ever been used on urban routes and this is a fantastic opportunity for Stagecoach and its partners to show that fully electric vehicles can be used across more challenging, non-urban routes” – Fiona Doherty, Managing Director at Stagecoach West Scotland
Fiona Doherty, Managing Director at Stagecoach West Scotland, said: “This is a great day for the team at Stagecoach West Scotland and we are very proud to have worked in partnership with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund to secure the investment needed to launch the UK’s first fleet of fully electric buses serving our rural communities in Kilmarnock. Traditionally electric buses have only ever been used on urban routes and this is a fantastic opportunity for Stagecoach and its partners to show that fully electric vehicles can be used across more challenging, non-urban routes.
“Stagecoach is the UK’s biggest investor in hybrid-electric bus technology, and we have invested more than £1billion in new greener buses over the past decade. Without Stagecoach bus services, there would be an annual increase of 190,000 tonnes of CO2 through passengers using alternative transport. Approximately £343million in potential congestion-related savings are also delivered by Stagecoach through a reduction of 1.22 billion miles of traffic, and the introduction of Kilmarnock’s first fully electric decker buses will deliver major benefits for the region and our customers.
“The introduction of the new opportunity charge buses across Kilmarnock further cements our commitment to meet the requirements of the Scottish Government and East Ayrshire Council’s climate change strategies. There is no other comparable project in the UK with other electric vehicle routes either on urban or low mileage rural routes.”