Powerhire provide 500kVA Generator for UK’s first ever fully electric, emission free bus launch for Volvo Group Volvo Group contacted Powerhire in February 2017 to provide a suitably sized generator, fuel tank, distribution and ancillary equipment for this new and exciting one-year project. Negating the need for a connection to the national grid, the project
Powerhire provide 500kVA Generator for UK’s first ever fully electric, emission free bus launch for Volvo Group
Volvo Group contacted Powerhire in February 2017 to provide a suitably sized generator, fuel tank, distribution and ancillary equipment for this new and exciting one-year project.
Negating the need for a connection to the national grid, the project required Powerhire to supply power to a stand-alone, portable mast based top-down charging station (Oppcharge Pantograph) supplied by ABB, that would in turn charge the emission free Volvo 7900e Electric Bus making its debut in the UK.
We were obviously delighted to be contacted by Volvo Group and proud to be part of such an important scheme to deliver the first ever fast fully electric, emission free bus and charging installation in the UK, particularly with rising traffic congestion in our cities causing an increase in air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The trial was to take place at Shudehill Bus Station in Manchester, with the launch day attended by the new Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham to coincide with the launch of his ‘congestion conversation’.
Our Powerhire Sales Director met with the Volvo Group team to discuss the challenges of delivering electricity at the power level required to charge the bus.
Following numerous meetings and discussions, our initial challenge was how to remote monitor the fuel usage for the generator to remove the responsibility of refuelling by the operator. By remote monitoring, Powerhire could plan and arrange for refuelling before it runs out. After discussions with our skilled rental team this was easily achieved by installing a GPS monitoring and tank gauge system allowing us to monitor the fuel levels from our offices in Kent. This clever communication system will send reports, graphs and table data showing the fuel levels at any time.
The second challenge for us came by way of how to automatically stop/start the generator to run only when power was needed to charge up the Pantograph. After in-depth discussions with our specialist generator engineering team we came up with the method of a Point to Point Interface that enables the electric bus and the generator to communicate with each other when in a 300 meter range. This technology permits the generator set to recognise when the 7900e electric bus is approaching, via Wi-Fi communication, and start up in preparation; which means the process of charging is kept to a minimum.
All the while they are in range of each other the 500kVA generator will run continuous, sending power to the innovative OppCharge Pantograph which in turn charges the bus. Once charging has finished; a full charge will take between three to six minutes, the bus moves away from the charging point communicating with the generator which then shuts down. The fully charged bus can travel between 20 to 30km.
The temporary generator and fuel tank were installed opposite the charging point in an area of Shudehill bus station screened from surrounding buildings with a conveniently situated car park access bridge providing a safe route for the cabling between the two.
Powerhire was in attendance at the very successful launch in Manchester on a sunny Friday morning in September along with the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Volvo, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), ABB and First Manchester. We were also were lucky enough to be one of the first people to take a trip through the city on this state-of-the-art vehicle and witness the very impressive mechanics of the charging process.
Following the eight week Manchester trial, where Volvo will monitor amongst other things, vehicle charge time and range, energy consumption, reliability – including charging infrastructure – and customer experience, the vehicle will be heading for a demonstration at London’s Heathrow Airport for a period of eight weeks. This will involve transporting airport staff and customers to and from the car parks and terminals. The first Volvo 7900e vehicles are set to enter service in the UK in early 2018.