Merseytravel and bus operator Stagecoach have begun a two month trial of a fully electric, zero emission bus which will using ‘opportunity charging’ aimed at cutting the amount of time needed to charge the vehicle.
Engineered by Volvo, the 7900e single deck bus will operate for a period of eight weeks on 82 and 86 routes via Garston and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
The vehicle will be powered via an OppCharge inverted pantograph installed at the Liverpool One interchange.
Built by ABB Ltd the technology is used across Europe, and will charge the bus in between three and six minutes. This means that buses do not have to return to depot to charge, potentially allowing 24-hour continuous service.
The bus has been trialled at several other key locations across the UK – including Manchester, Cardiff and Heathrow Airport – before moving to Liverpool.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Low and zero emission public transport has a key role to play in helping us achieve a cleaner and greener City Region.
“That’s why so far, working closely with bus operators, we’ve brought in buses which run on electricity, biogas or a mix of the two and re-engineered older vehicles in the fleet to reduce their emissions. 70% of our buses are low emission – In fact, many of them now give off less pollution than a standard diesel car.
“Whilst this is only a short-term trial, we hope that it’s a great success. The kind of technology powering this bus will no doubt help improve air quality in the future, which will benefit the health and wellbeing of everyone in the City Region.â€?
The trial follows the deployment of 12 electric buses in the city region by the operator Arriva Merseyside late last year.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Portfolio Holder, said: “I’m delighted that Volvo has chosen Liverpool as one of the key areas to trial this technology in the UK. One of our top priorities through the Bus Alliance is to get more people on the bus and reduce car miles and carbon footprints.
“To do this, it’s essential that we continue to improve the offer and benefit to customers travelling by bus. That’s why we’re committed to investing in innovative transport technology which will not only make bus services environmentally friendly, but also efficient and flexible.â€?