First Bus to trial Arrival battery-electric model in autumn

First Bus to trial Arrival electric bus

First Bus is to become the first operator to trial the Arrival battery-electric bus. The process will begin in the autumn and Arrival says it will involve multiple vehicles.

The initial vehicle configurations “will be a combination of familiar requirements and new innovative features, which will be activated throughout the trial and be made possible by Arrival’s smart connected hardware and end-to-end fleet management solutions,” the manufacturer adds.

Arrival installs up to 311kW/h of storage on the bus, which has a seating capacity of 36 within a fully low-floor envelope. While it has not specified a range based on that battery capacity, it estimates that the bus is “up to 40% lighter than other battery-electric buses in the market today.”

Says First Bus Managing Director Janette Bell: “As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are excited to announce our partnership with Arrival, helping us to bring some of the most innovative zero-emission vehicle on the market onto the UK’s streets for customers and partners.

“We are proud to be the first operator in the UK to trial Arrival’s electric buses and we look forward to working together to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions in our sector.

“Their ground-breaking technology is also expected to allow for improved customer service. We are looking forward to seeing how passengers react to the new buses when they are trialled later this year.”

Arrival says that part of the bus’s weight saving comes from common front and rear suspension and “common wheels and tyres.” Earlier pictures of an Arrival bus on test suggested that it has single rear wheels.

First has not stated where the trial(s) with Arrival buses will take place, but its statement references the COP26 summit, to be held in Glasgow between 1-12 November. In 2020 the group made a commitment to buy no further diesel buses after December 2022 and to operate an entirely zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.

Arrival revealed its electric bus in June 2020. At that time, it said it was in discussions with several operators and cities about the vehicle.