Since OppCharge has not become a dominant standard in Europe, Volvo Buses will offer a roof-mounted pantograph option too.

Volvo Buses announced that, on top of its usual charging solutions, from Autumn 2021, it will be selling also vehicles with roof-mounted pantograph, known as panto up, shown on the first image above.

Currently, the Swedish manufacturer offers two possibilities:

  • Combo2/CCS inlet for DC fast charging via cable at the depot
  • OppCharge, for charging via a charging station-mounted pantograph (panto down) at bus stops or bus depots. It's sometimes called "inverted" pantograph. Volvo Buses was one of the main force behind this solution.
Volvo 7900 Electric (left) and Volvo 7900 Electric Articulated (right)
CCS Combo 2 (left) and OppCharge (right)

The additional solution will be a roof-mounted pantograph (panto up). The panto up and panto down solutions are the two major fast charging standard for buses in Europe, unfortunately competing with each other. Both are quite popular.

"The Volvo Buses panto up solution is based on the very latest technology from Schunk, featuring such benefits as compact installation and low additional on-board weight. Panto up will be available as an alternative for the Volvo 7900 Electric and Volvo 7900 Electric Articulated in Europe as of autumn 2021."

Depending on a particular city or transit agency, one of those two solutions is a tender requirement, which probably forced Volvo Buses to expand the offer.

Ulf Magnusson, SVP Business Unit Europe at Volvo Buses said:

“With a flexible range of alternatives for charging buses, we meet the varied demands and wishes of our customers and pave the way for quicker and easier transition to electrified bus traffic,”

Regardless of how one would spin the story, and that both of those solutions might have their advantages and disadvantages, not having a single, continent-wide standard is a little disappointing. The only positive thing is that the buses usually stay in a particular city their entire life, so the problem of incompatibility is an order of magnitude smaller than in the case of cars.