Merseytravel and bus operator Stagecoach recently ran a two month trial of a new fully electric, zero emission bus which can be charged on route, cutting waste and increasing flexibility of service, as part of the Liverpool City Region’s ambition to become ‘zero carbon’ by the year 2040.

Engineered by Volvo, the 7900e single deck electric bus operated for a period of eight weeks on the 82 and 86 routes via Garston and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. It was immediately recognisable by its specially ‘electriCITY’ branded livery.

The vehicle was powered via an innovative OppCharge inverted pantograph installed at the Liverpool One interchange. Built by ABB Ltd, this technology is used widely across Europe, and enabled the bus to charge in between three and six minutes. This means that buses do not have to return to depot to charge, reducing wasted miles and potentially allowing 24-hour continuous service, improving journey times.

The electric bus has been trialled at several other key locations across the UK – including Manchester, Cardiff and Heathrow Airport – before coming to Liverpool. Volvo selected the city as the final area to be part of the scheme, citing the ongoing development of the Liverpool City Region, its important place within the Northern Powerhouse and future links to HS2.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, 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. Now, 70% of our buses are low emission. In fact, many of them now give off less pollution than a standard diesel car.

“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.”

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