ABB powers future for e-mobility at one of UK’s busiest airports

ABB powers future for e-mobility at one of UK’s busiest airports

Working with Volvo Bus to develop electric bus solutions for improved urban mobility, ABB will deliver OppCharge charging solutions to Birmingham Airport

Pioneering technology leader ABB, along with Volvo Bus and Birmingham Airport today announced a collaboration, which will see the launch of an environmentally-friendly passenger transport service in and around the airport.

Available from November 2019 to the airports 13 million annual passengers, retail staff and airline crew, the service will see six Volvo 7900e fully electric, low emission single deck buses service the airport grounds.

Due to the requirement for 24/7 operation, each of the Volvo 7900e buses will be recharged en route using the ’OppCharge’ opportunity charging pantograph system from ABB. Charging will take two to six minutes to complete, providing flexibility and enabling continuous operation for the electric buses without having to spend time in the depot being ‘topped up’ with power.

“As a global leader in EV charging solutions, we are proud to be partnering with Volvo and Birmingham Airport to bring sustainable transport to this busy UK hub”, commented Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for EV Charging Infrastructure. “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 the future, these charging points will be made available to other bus operators who adopt electric vehicles

Part of the ABB AbilityTM portfolio of digital solutions, ABB chargers benefit from cloud connectivity, which allows for remote diagnosis and management, ensuring reliable and efficient infrastructure for bus passengers.

Nick Barton, CEO at Birmingham Airport said: “This partnership is a key milestone for us. 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.

“We have made significant customer service improvements across the airport to increase capacity and improve passenger experience, with the vision of positioning Birmingham as Europe’s leading Airport. The electric buses form part of this vision, not to mention their sustainability benefits being ultra-low emission.

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

Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, added: “It is very exciting that the 7900e has been chosen for Birmingham Airport in support of its ambition to provide the best possible environmentally friendly bus service for airport customers and stakeholders alike.”

“Over the last 15 months the 7900e has undertaken a UK wide demonstration tour where it has shown the contribution that can now be made to improving air quality in the areas where it has been in service. We are confident the 7900e and accompanying technologies will help Birmingham Airport to achieve its goals.“

As the world leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, ABB offers the full range of charging solutions for electric cars, electric and hybrid buses as well as electrification solutions for ships and railways. ABB entered the EV-charging market back in 2010, and today 10,500 ABB DC fast chargers have been sold across 73 countries, more fast chargers than any other manufacturer.

OppCharge is an open interface for the automated charging of both single and double deck electric buses, from any manufacturer, using a pantograph on the infrastructure to connect the bus to the charging point.

Fortune Magazine recently ranked ABB #8 on its list of companies that are “changing the world” for the advances it has made in e-mobility and electric vehicle charging.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.


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