Volvo is bringing its B5LHC electric hybrid double-decker to this year’s Buses Festival at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire on Sunday 20 August.
One of two built for trials in London and fitted with Wright’s New Routemaster-style SRM body, the B5LHC had its first public showing at Euro Bus Expo last November. It has the same parallel diesel and electric driveline as the B5LH hybrid, but its 19kWh battery capacity allows it to operate for up to 7km (4.3miles) in near silent zero-emission electric drive. The batteries are charged between journeys at Volvo’s OppCharge overhead gantries.
It will provide rides within the Gaydon site during the day. A variety of other visiting vehicles also will operate these circuits and make trips through the neighbouring countryside.
Besides the B5LHC, Volvo is bringing one of its current coach range — a Jonckheere JHV2- bodied B11R — to Buses Festival.
Other modern vehicles booked to attend include a high specification Wright Eclipse 3-bodied Volvo B8RLE single-decker in the green and grey livery of Lothian’s East Coast Buses fleet in Edinburgh, while Reading Buses plans to bring its Alexander Dennis Enviro400 recently re-liveried in Newbury Buses heritage livery. By 3 August, 85 preserved and modern vehicles had already been booked to attend, and entries were coming in daily.
For the first time, awards will be presented this year for the Best Restored Vehicle, Best Modern Vehicle and Farthest Travelled Vehicle. All entries, either for static display or to provide rides, will qualify for judging.
And as a visitor, you can be part of the judging process for an additional Best in Show award. This will be decided by visitors’ votes on the day. It will be presented to the vehicle you consider to be the best of any type at Buses Festival. Look out for the voting forms and ballot boxes, and help pick a winner.
Besides the buses and coaches, there also will be trade stands selling a wide range of bus related items — including models, books, photographs and other collectable memorabilia — many of them inside the museum, offering weatherproof browsing.
In association with Buses, the Cheltenham Model Centre is producing a strictly limited run of diecast models of a double-decker from a Midlands fleet, decorated with a unique set of destination displays and advertisements appropriate to the event. They will be on sale from the Cheltenham Model Centre stand for £19.95 each, while stocks last.
The museum is a big attraction in itself, telling the story of the British motor industry through a collection of several hundred displayed cars and commercial vehicles that include a 1920s London S Type double-decker.
■ For more details, see www.busesfestival.com