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Interior of an Arriva North West Volvo B7L
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 door, 2 doors, 3 doors or 4 doors|
|Floor type||Low floor|
Volvo B7L was a low floor transit bus chassis with a rear engine mounted vertically on the left of the rear overhang, it was built as a replacement for the Volvo B10L. It was used as both a single and double-decker chassis largely in Continental Europe.
The B7L was also available as a complete Volvo bus - the Volvo 5000 (later renumbered 7500, with aluminium structure) and Volvo 7000 (later renumbered 7700, with stainless steel structure).
Whilst similar to the B10L in design, both featuring a side-mounted engine, the B7L's engine was a Volvo D7C unit mounted vertically, as opposed to the horizontally mounted Volvo DH10/GH10 engine of the B10L; the radiator was mounted above the engine instead of the right-hand side, allowing the floor to be lower behind the rear axle. As with the B10L, B7L was also available in articulated form as the B7LA.
Outside Continental Europe, the B7L was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2000, as a replacement for the Volvo B10BLE single-decker. It could be fitted with Wright Eclipse body (and Eclipse Fusion body for B7LA), but proved unpopular due to the arrangement of engine and radiator limiting seating capacity, with FirstGroup being the only major customer. Volvo responded by introducing the B7RLE for the UK market. In Ireland, Bus Éireann purchased 25 B7L's between 2001 & 2003. The double-deck version of B7L was also sold in UK, used as citybus (East Lancs Nordic body) or sightseeing bus (Ayats Bravo City open-top body).
Volvo B7L and B7LA-based buses are used in Greece. In Athens, Volvo B7LAs constructed by Saracakis have been used since 1999, when Volvo B7L and B7LAs constructed by ELBO were introduced by OASTH, the local bus operator.
In 2005, Wright unveiled the Wright StreetCar which is a tram-like articulated bus built with modified B7LA chassis. The chassis has a shorter front overhang, the driver's cab relocated to above the front axle and the radiator relocated to the roof, giving a full-width rear window.
The Volvo B7L was superseded by the Volvo B9L in 2006.
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