Birmingham Airport partners with Volvo Bus to electrify shuttle fleet

In a bid to become greener, Birmingham Airport, UK, has commissioned the services of vehicle manufacturer Volvo and automation specialist ABB to introduce six fully-electric single-deck buses by November 2019.

The Volvo 7900e buses will be used to transport passengers in and around the airport and will be charged on-the-go, using an innovative ‘OppCharge’ pantograph charging system from ABB. Charging will take two to six minutes to complete, enabling continuous 24/7 operation. OppCharge facilitates the automated charging of electric buses by using a pantograph to connect the bus to the charging point.

Frank Muehlon, head of ABB’s global business for EV charging infrastructure, said, “This project marks a significant step in an ongoing partnership between ABB and Volvo, which has seen our companies work side by side since 2014 on co-developing electric bus solutions for improved urban mobility. We are delighted to be involved in delivering such a landmark transport solution for the Midlands and look forward to welcoming passengers to experience the benefits of e-mobility when the service launches later this year.”

Initially, two 300kW pantographs will be available outside the airport terminal, with plans to install further pantographs around the bus route if services are expanded. In addition, two 100kW ‘plug in’ charging points using the CCS2 connector for DC fast charging will be available in the airport’s coach park. In future, these charging points will be made available to other bus operators who adopt electric vehicles.

Nick Barton, CEO at Birmingham Airport, said, “We are always investigating new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon emissions and through the partnership with Volvo Bus UK, we can do just this.

“Since 2012, the Airport has reduced its CO2 by 20% per passenger. Implementing the six electric buses will work toward lowering our CO2 per passenger even further, which is just fantastic,” he said.