The big reveal: Volvo’s new BZL electric bus range makes its UK and Ireland debut

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The BZL – Volvo’s new electric bus platform – made its UK & Ireland debut this week at a special ‘Go Electric’ event, staged at its Coventry Sales Centre.

Introduced globally on a virtual basis back in September this year, this was the first opportunity for customers in the British Isles to see, first-hand, this significant product introduction.

Over the course of three days, Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 November, the ‘Go Electric’ event brought together customers and other stakeholders at Volvo’s Bus and Coach Sales Centre in Coventry.

The event showcased Volvo’s all-new electromobility solution – the BZL Electric – which is a chassis platform designed for both single and double deck applications.

A BZL Electric double deck to Transport for London (TfL) specification, has been developed in conjunction with bodybuilder MCV and will shortly enter service in London with Metroline. The BZL Electric single deck, again developed with MCV, will be used as a demonstration vehicle throughout 2022.

The Volvo BZL Electric platform is the latest stage in company’s electromobility journey, with Volvo Buses spearheading the progressive electrification of products right across the Volvo Group.

It is a journey that began with the introduction of the first hybrid double deck buses in London in 2009, with the first fully electric single deck vehicles in traffic in 2018. To date, Volvo Buses have supplied over 7,600 hybrid or fully electric buses globally, in markets as diverse as Europe, North & South America, India, Asia and Australia.

At the ‘Go Electric’ event, invited customers and journalists had the opportunity to hear presentations from key Volvo personnel on the development, features and safety aspects of the new chassis platform and its associated technology and infrastructure, as well as drive the launch vehicles for the first time.

The event also marked the final official engagement for outgoing Volvo Bus UK & Ireland Managing Director, Nick Page, who retires at the end of December. His replacement will be announced shortly.

Nick Page commented, “I am delighted to be able to celebrate this important milestone in Volvo’s electromobility journey with colleagues and friends in the industry.

“Although my personal journey with Volvo is drawing to a close, the new Volvo BZL Electric – together with the requisite technology, services and support from the global Volvo organisation to deliver successful operation of electric vehicles – will prove to be the route forward for many operators on their on-going journey towards net zero.”

Quality

The new BZL Electric is an important next step in delivering a safer, fossil free and more productive passenger transport solution for towns and cities in the British Isles.

The Volvo BZL Electric is based on proven and successful technologies already implemented in Europe. All the chassis and driveline components have been developed, extensively tested and manufactured by Volvo.

Volvo Bus has two decades of experience in developing electromobility solutions and the BZL Electric continues this evolution as a new platform for both single and double deck applications.

Featuring a 200kW low-loss electric motor, it delivers impressive torque and driveability for safe operation, as well as in demanding uphill conditions. The automated gearbox increases wheel torque at low speeds to reduce driveline wear. The Volvo BZL Electric is an extremely efficient chassis design with flexibility in energy storage size, thus supporting optimised operation.

The BZL driveline: An automated two-speed gearbox means hill-climbing is matched with low driveline wear

The Volvo BZL Electric is designed for charging flexibility, using hardware interfaces for both CCS charging in the depot, with functionality that can be set up for OppCharge high-power charging on route as well.

“Volvo takes full responsibility for function and quality, that’s why the company partners with the best bodybuilders, safeguarding the premium qualities of the vehicles” says Phil Owen, Sales Director at Volvo Bus UK and Ireland.

“We always work really closely with our customers and partners to tailor our electromobility solutions to each individual area. The BZL is flexible, and it has longevity. By developing a product around that insight and focussing on quality, we can ensure the long-term reliability and efficiency of our products and services.”

Safety

When it comes to safety, the new chassis platform meets the highest European standards for safe operation and driving.

The BZL Electric has increased damage protection with all-new rear and side ESS (Energy Storage System) protection, along with a new front structure. Further to these enhancements, there is an integrated front-end frame providing crash protection and efficient impact energy dissipation, for the benefit of the driver and passengers in the event of a collision.

The driver’s cab has increased visibility, with the assault door pillar carefully positioned to always ensure maximum driving sight lines.

The chassis offers outstanding bodybuilding, high quality suspension and driveline, with dynamic braking to help the driver stay in control and avoid accidents.

Volvo’s latest connected technology offer, Volvo Connect is also a feature compatible with the Volvo BZL Electric. With Volvo’s Zone Management, the operator can create safety zones where the maximum speed is limited, for instance outside schools. The newest e-mobility offer also gives instant driver feedback. on driving style and suggestions for improvements.

Volvo’s digital offering can also keep the customer safe from a cybersecurity perspective. Web-based user interfaces and connectivity call for the highest standards of protection against cybercrime. Volvo designs its connected services to minimise exposure and eliminate possibilities to access the systems without authorisation.

“Safety has always been at the heart of every vehicle we’ve developed and with the BZL Electric we have pushed the boundaries even further, particularly in relation to the crash protection system” says Phil Owen.

Environmental care

The new Volvo BZL Electric delivers a clean, silent and energy-efficient electric bus system. Developments include a new heating and ventilation system with a CO2 heat pump with a coefficient of performance ratio of 1:4.

While lower emissions and CO2 reduction is essential, Volvo has a much wider scope.

The lifecycle of products and materials sourced are carefully considered, ensuring that these aspects of the vehicles meet the highest environmental standards.

The new Volvo BZL Electric has been specifically developed to be over 95 per cent recyclable and 97 per cent recoverable, to ensure that circularity and reduction in waste.

Volvo Bus has also committed to installing charging points at all its dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland as part of its wider commitment to provide enhanced service, training and support to bus operators.

Shaping the future of transport

“The long established and ever more relevant Volvo core values of quality, safety and environmental care are at the heart of shaping a safer, cleaner and more efficient transport in the future. They are woven into every aspect of the new Volvo BZL Electric and we are extremely excited to be able to introduce this new chassis platform to the UK and Ireland” says Phil Owen.

You will receive our regular news digest – typically weekly. We are serious about GDPR and we promise to take care of your data and will never sell it or pass it on.

Your Privacy

We and our partners use technologies, such as cookies, and process personal data, such as IP addresses and cookie identifiers, to personalise ads and content based on your interests, measure the performance of ads and content, and derive insights about the audiences who saw ads and content. Click below to consent to the use of this technology and the processing of your personal data for these purposes. View our privacy policy.