Birmingham Airport has launched a fully-electric bus fleet to replace the current diesel vehicles in operation. Operating as a free passenger service via all landside car park routes, the new fleet is made up of six 7900e single deck electric buses supplied by Volvo Bus UK, providing an 80% lower energy consumption than the equivalent-sized diesel bus.
An investment of £1.8 million (€2.1m) was made by the airport, with an additional grant of £1.4 million (€1.7m) provided by the Department for Transport under its Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
The decision to introduce the electric fleet came as a result of a review undertaken by the airport into its future vehicle provision and recently-announced commitment to become a net zero carbon airport by 2033 – ahead of the UK’s 2050 target.
To ensure the bus operation is available 24/7, each bus will be recharged while in service using the ’OppCharge’ opportunity charging pantograph system. Two charging points have been installed outside the terminal, taking up to six minutes to complete charging, giving flexibility while also enabling continuous operation. Additional plug-in charging points are located in the coach park. Plans have also been put in place to make the charging points available for future use by public electric bus and coach operators.
“The buses are not only a big win for us in terms of the reduction in emissions, but they will also contribute to providing an improved passenger experience,” says Nick Barton, CEO Birmingham Airport.“The 7900e Volvo UK buses are considerably quieter than the buses we had in use previously and are equipped with location-based passenger updates as well as USB charging built into every seat.
“This is a really exciting time for Birmingham Airport. Over the next 15 years we are investing significantly to improve our facilities and service for customers, while reducing our carbon footprint to reach an ambitious target of net zero carbon by 2033.”