Birmingham Airport has launched a fully electric bus fleet to replace the current diesel vehicles in operation – the first UK airport to implement six ultra-low emission buses.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands was in attendance at the launch, highlighting the benefits of green transport in improving air quality across the region.
Operating as a free passenger service via all landside car park routes, the new fleet is made up of six 7900e single deck electric buses supplied by Volvo Bus UK, providing an 80% lower energy consumption than the equivalent sized diesel bus. An investment of £1.8m was made by the airport, with an additional grant of £1.4m provided by the Department for Transport under its Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
The decision to introduce the electric fleet came as a result of a review undertaken by the airport into its future vehicle provision and recently announced a commitment to become a net zero carbon airport by the year 2033 – ahead of the UK’s 2050 target.
To ensure the bus operation is available 24/7, each bus will be recharged whilst in service using the ’OppCharge’ opportunity charging pantograph system. Two charging points have been installed outside of the terminal, taking up to six minutes to complete charging, giving flexibility whilst also enabling continuous operation. Additional plug-in charging points are located in the coach park. Plans have also been put in place to make the charging points available for future use by public electric bus and coach operators. Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said:
“I’m extremely proud to say we are the first UK airport to implement six fully electric landside buses which will operate via a fast charging pantograph system. The buses are not only a big win for us in terms of the reduction in emissions, but they will also contribute to providing an improved passenger experience.
“This is a really exciting time for Birmingham Airport. Over the next 15 years, we are investing significantly to improve our facilities and service for customers, whilst reducing our carbon footprint to reach an ambitious target of net zero carbon by 2033.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, added:
"A huge congratulations to Birmingham Airport on the launch of their electric buses. It really is great to see the airport leading the way in the fight against climate change, not only as the first UK airport to implement a fleet of six fully electric landside buses but also with its wider commitment to become net zero carbon by 2033.
"In July of this year, the West Midlands Combined Authority took the step to invite youth climate strikers to our board meeting to discuss the issues around climate change. This meeting led to us declaring a climate emergency in the region, and setting our own West Midlands target of becoming carbon neutral no later than 2041 - nine years ahead of the national target."