MP considers funding after electric Volvo trial
A Winchester MP has said he is looking into how more Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding might be made available after an electric Volvo BZL was trialled in the city.
The vehicle was trialled on the Winchester Park & Ride system, one of Winchester City Council’s five designated Park & Ride car parks, with Stagecoach South operating it. The bus clocked-up more than 2,000km over two weeks on the service.
“In Winchester, the trial couldn’t have been more positive” – Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland
Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “We collaborate with operators to enable them to test our electric buses in real-life situations, enabling them to evaluate the potential that exists to electrify routes in the most responsible and sustainable way.
“In Winchester, the trial couldn’t have been more positive. The vehicle’s 376kwh battery capacity provided ample range to complete each day’s 15-hour operation without a single top-up charge being required whilst in service – and the vehicle earned excellent driver and passenger feedback. However, to take the next step and create a better environment for everyone in Winchester, Stagecoach South will need to have access to appropriate government-backed funding.”
“…I will be looking into how more Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding might be made available” – Winchester MP, Steve Brine
Winchester MP, Steve Brine, said: “Our city is a treasure trove of English heritage, so we can’t ignore the potential to operate one of the cleanest and greenest Park & Ride systems in the country to protect it. We already have an efficient bus system which reduces the need for cars to enter the city centre; now we need to see it electrified – and I will be looking into how more Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding might be made available.”
The Volvo BZL Electric deployed for the trial was equipped in a four battery configuration (five is the maximum), and the batteries were recharged overnight at the local bus depot. Throughout the trial the vehicle’s regenerative braking system enabled a proportion of the energy that would otherwise have been lost when the bus was decelerating, to be successfully recovered as free and clean energy to help power the vehicle.
“Winchester’s Park & Ride service was always an opportunity suitable for transitioning to electric, and the trial with Volvo Buses has helped to prove the case” – Gordon Frost, Operations Director of Stagecoach South
Gordon Frost, Operations Director of Stagecoach South, said: “Across Stagecoach Group we’re already operating hundreds of electric vehicles, and we know first-hand the benefits they bring, not just in zero tailpipe emissions, but in reduced noise and improved passenger experience.
“Winchester’s Park & Ride service was always an opportunity suitable for transitioning to electric, and the trial with Volvo Buses has helped to prove the case. As the local bus operator, we want to make this happen – but it will require additional funding from government.”
Bondi concludes: “Together with Stagecoach South, we can offer a solution for Winchester as we have done in multiple locations across the UK. We want residents, local businesses and the thousands of tourists who visit historic Winchester each year to enjoy the environmental benefits that electric buses would bring.”