Go-Ahead brought an electric bus back to the streets of Hull for the first time in many years during a trial of Volvo’s BZL
Go-Ahead Group company East Yorkshire Buses, which already operates a predominantly Volvo fleet in the city, took the opportunity to trial one of Volvo’s electric single-deck buses for three weeks in Hull recently. The operator tested the vehicle on its service 66 between Hull and Hessle, clocking up more than 172 kilometres a day.
Andy Benstead, Head of Engineering at the company, said: “Hull’s not really in touch with the electric commercial vehicle trend yet. This bus was the first to hit service, and for me it was quite a big thing, experiencing and understanding this new technology and what it can do. Considering how complex the system is, the simplicity of it is fantastic. It’s very easy to operate and delivers an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride, the regenerative braking is especially clever.”
The bus features a five battery configuration, recharged for the trial using a portable charger at the firm’s bus depot overnight and supplemented by vehicle’s regenerative braking system. Andy continued: “We’ve had really positive feedback from our drivers and it’s created a buzz in Hull – with passengers asking drivers whether it was going to be the same bus that would be turning up every day!
“We already have a very close working relationship with Volvo, so the great support we’ve received during the trial was no surprise. We would really like to see this technology in our area in the future.”
The bus is said to have been well received by the local community and online, with social media users posting pictures and praise across platforms such as Twitter/X and Facebook, the operator reports. The bus also caught the attention of the local authority, and Strategic Transport Manager at Hull City Council Kerry Ryan and Councillor Mark Ieronimo, Portfolio Holder for Transportation Roads, and Highways, visited the operator for a closer look.
Kerry commented: “I’m aware that other cities have electric public transport options, but I had never actually been on an electric bus until the Volvo BZL Electric. The difference is astonishing, not only the sound but also the smoothness of the ride. We all came away very impressed, and it’s a good experience for us if an opportunity was to present itself in the future, particularly when it comes to discussing how we could support our commercial operators with infrastructure.”
The last electric vehicles to operate regularly on Hull’s streets following the decline of the city’s trams were trolleybuses, first introduced in 1937. They ran until being replaced by motorbuses in 1964.