Volvo has launched its first fully electric bus, which the manufacturer says will be over ninety per cent recyclable by the time it enters service in 2022. The BZL Electric features a driveline developed entirely by Volvo, where a 200kW electric motor is coupled to a two-stage automatic gearbox. This is designed to increase wheel torque at low speed and smooth out peaks in current, thereby reducing energy consumption and sustaining motor and battery health. The driveline can be configured as a single or dual motor unit with a minimum power output of 540 hp.
Volvo’s BZL Electric chassis will be focused on the Australian, Mexican and UK markets in both single and double-deck format and the Swedish manufacturer says the platform has been developed from “proven and successful technologies already implemented in Europe.” An example of each model has already been constructed in Sweden in right-hand drive and the double-decker variant is scheduled to enter a trial period with London-based operator, Metroline, in early 2022. The company will run the demonstrator BZE DD across all its routes currently operated by battery-electric double-deckers, and selected other routes that utilise diesel-electric hybrid or diesel vehicles. This approach is expected to give the bus “a thorough grounding in service and will provide information on the various types of journeys in peak and off-peak hours,” according to a Metroline spokesperson.
Both the single and double-decker BZL Electric can be charged via either a CCS2 plug-in at a maximum of 150kW, or via Volvo’s pantograph-based OppCharge system, at a maximum of 300kW. Drive is via a ZF AV 133 axle and both BZL Electric buses come with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 19,500kg. In single-deck right-hand drive format, Volvo says that the BZL Electric will be offered first at 10.8 and 12m lengths with scope to go bigger or smaller.
John Dwight, Sales Director of Imperial Engineering, which supports Metroline with OE bus parts, commented:
“Volvo’s launch into the zero-emission bus market with Metroline in London will set the tone for another year of progress in advancing bus transport closer to clean air public transport within major cities and high density routes. Having both electric and hydrogen fuelled buses in operation on a growing number of routes in London and around the whole UK is very encouraging and sends a clear signal to the travelling public that bus transport continues to improve in a sustainable way.”