Cardiff begins fully-electric bus trial

Cardiff city council is the latest municipality to take part in demonstrator trials for fully-electric buses using ‘opportunity charging’.

Running as part of an eight-week trial, the Volvo 7900E will run along the regular Route 6, taking passengers from the civic centre, via the city centre and on to Cardiff Bay.

Volvo Bus has provided the fully-electric 7900E bus for the trial

The project is being run in collaboration with the Welsh Government, Cardiff council, Cardiff Bus, Volvo Bus and ABB which has provided the charging station.

Both Volvo Bus and ABB will be bearing the costs of the vehicle, the infrastructure, its transport and commissioning and the fuel for the generator.

Opportunity charging takes place via a specialist overhead mast, which connects to the bus via a pantograph on top of the vehicle. Charging is fully automated and takes between three and six minutes to complete.

This trial’s objective is to prove an electric vehicle can operate using opportunity charging on an allocated route and that the infrastructure can be installed in Cardiff and other Welsh cities, potentially to be rolled out on a wider scale.

The aims of the trial are to provide evidence that the introduction of electric vehicles in Wales can provide both financial and environmental benefits, and that the vehicle can complete the route with no disturbance to the schedule, the partners have said.


Commenting on the scheme Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said: “I am delighted to welcome Volvo and ABB to Cardiff, and grateful to Cardiff Bus for taking the lead in this exciting development in city transport.

“There have been a number of such trials around the UK, but this is the first in Wales. We have to stress test this demonstration project, and the late Bank Holiday weekend should be the ideal opportunity to put this vehicle through its paces.

“This is a first step towards our Economic Action Plan commitment to achieve zero carbon buses within ten years. I have every confidence the data will support the fact that electric vehicles can deliver a high-quality service, with measurable improvements in air quality along the participating route.

“Volvo brings its bus into Cardiff just in time to bring visitors to the Bay to welcome the Volvo Ocean Boat Race. This is the first time in a history spanning four decades that this thrilling event has stopped in Wales, and it is fitting we welcome the boat race and the bus to our city in the same week.”

Other areas to have taken part in the demonstrator project include Kent, which began a seven-week trial in March (see story).

The bus provides up to 80% lower energy consumption than an equivalent diesel bus, as well as zero-tailpipe emissions according to the manufacturer.

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