Lothian orders 50 Volvo BZL electric double-deckers

Lothian has today (20 September 2023) announced an order for 50 new Volvo BZL Electric double-deckers, each with MCV bodywork, for Edinburgh.

At an investment of over £24 million, Lothian will introduce these new vehicles in two batches across 2024, with the first vehicles appearing on Edinburgh’s streets in early spring. This investment cements the company’s commitment to reduce emissions and improve air quality in its operating environment.

“…this level of investment ensures that we as a business are playing our part in improving air quality across the city” – Sarah Boyd, Managing Director of Lothian

Sarah Boyd, Managing Director of Lothian, said: “We are delighted to be working with Volvo Buses to introduce a fleet of 50 zero emission double decks to our fleet. Lothian continues to support the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council’s strategies to improve local air quality, and this level of investment ensures that we as a business are playing our part in improving air quality across the city.

“These buses are not only fitted with the latest zero tailpipe emission drivelines; they also offer an enhanced customer experience for the millions of passengers who choose to travel with us every week.”

(L to R) Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland; Sarah Boyd, Managing Director of Lothian Buses; Colin Barnes, Engineering Director of Lothian Buses and Marie Carlsson, Vice President of Electromobility Business Development at Volvo

The delivery of greener buses is key to Lothian’s ‘Driving towards Net Zero’ environmental strategy, launched last week. The strategy outlines the company’s plans for ongoing investments in zero tailpipe emission buses and infrastructure across the next decade.

The 50 Volvo BZL Electric buses will offer improved comfort and quieter journeys, each accommodating over 70 passengers and featuring wifi, high-back seats and USB charging points. Lothian says its drivers will benefit from a calm and quiet workspace which reduces stress, while a camera-based mirror system improves vision in all conditions.

“It is a huge privilege to secure this landmark electric bus order from Lothian” – Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland

Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “Lothian put our BZL Electric demonstrator through its paces for more than four months, and it performed fantastically. Feedback was universally positive – from drivers, passengers and Lothian management – plus the vehicle’s range was more than sufficient for a full day’s operation in Edinburgh, proven on even the coldest of winter days.

“It is a huge privilege to secure this landmark electric bus order from Lothian, and we are confident the BZL Electric will play a pivotal role in supporting our customer’s ambitious net-zero strategy, which resonates strongly with Volvo’s own ambition to create zero-emission cities. We look forward to continuing our partnership and working closely with Lothian to achieve our common goal of a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.”

The new buses will be powered by Volvo’s 200kW electric driveline, which comprises an electric motor coupled to a two-stage automated gearbox. Each vehicle has been specified with five lithium-ion batteries giving the maximum 470kW/h of onboard energy storage. This can be extended during operation thanks to a regenerative braking system which enables a proportion of the energy that would otherwise have been lost when the vehicle is decelerating to be recovered as free, clean, energy.

They will be charged overnight at new charging stations being installed within the company’s Annandale Street garage. Once plugged in, a full charge takes three to four hours.

To celebrate the investment, Lothian and Volvo Buses are partnering to give away ten annual Ridacards – the company’s season ticket offering unlimited travel across their network – at its Doors Open Day event on Saturday 23 September.

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