Electric start to 2017

Electric start to 2017

BYD and ADL have received an important boost at the start of a new year with the announcement of a further order from Go Ahead London for 14 10.8m BYD ADL Enviro200 EV buses to operate on TfL’s 360 route from South Kensington to Elephant and Castle. The order is the first for the new, shorter 10.8m model and follows the delivery last year of 51 BYD/ADL electric buses to Go Ahead’s Waterloo garage, currently Europe’s largest fleet of electric vehicles.

More BYD/ADLs ordered for London, and Nottingham electric park-and-ride gets underway. Steve Rooney reports.

In October, the partnership between BYD and ADL also secured an important order outside London with Arriva Merseyside opting to take 12 electric buses  for operation in Liverpool on the back of the city’s recently-formed Bus Alliance.

The buses in the latest order will be based at Go-Ahead's Camberwell garage where BYD will install 14 charging posts.

"The experience gained in electrifying routes 521 and 507 out of Waterloo was pivotal in deciding who to work with on route 360,” says Richard Harrington, engineering director, Go-Ahead Group. “Having the confidence that the product can operate on London's streets and is capable of running a whole day without the need to recharge put this product to the front of what is becoming a very competitive market".

BYD is prime contractor for the order and its UK country manager Frank Thorpe adds: "This underlines the strength of our joint offer and we again look forward to working with Go-Ahead London on this exciting project. We anticipate delivering the vehicles in the second half of 2017.”

Robert Davey, ADL group commercial and business development director, says: "Along with our recent order from Merseyside this latest order illustrates the attractiveness of the BYD ADL Enviro200EV from an operational and passenger perspective, not to mention the benefits it provides to pedestrians and city dwellers with zero emissions. The stylish British-built ADL bodywork mounted on BYD's well proven chassis, and underpinned by the best aftermarket support in the business is truly a winning combination. "

Just before Christmas, BYD delivered a further batch of electric buses with 13 of its own wholly-built ebuses for Nottingham’s park-and-ride service. The vehicles were acquired by Nottingham City Council and will be operated by Nottingham Community Transport on a five-year contract. 

The Nottingham order was supported by a £1.4million grant from the Green Bus Fund but the majority of the funding came from the city council’s workplace parking levy, which raised £2.1million towards the electric buses and infrastructure. 

Nottingham already has a fleet of 45 Optare electric buses and was particularly attracted to the BYD option as it promises full-day operation on a single, overnight charge. The original order was placed before the establishment of the BYD/ADL partnership which is why these 14 vehicles have been shipped fully-built from China. 

The city is embarking on a major programme to promote electric vehicles and is aiming to increase sustainability with the development of local power generation through waste incineration and PV panels.

The buses were launched at a ceremony attended by local MP and former Labour transport spokesperson Lillian Greenwood who emphasised the importance of promoting cleaner, greener transport: “If we are serious as a country about meeting the commitments of the Paris climate change agreements we need more investment in electric buses”.

BYD’s Frank Thorpe added: “London normally leads the way, but not this time. Winning this order from Nottingham, which has one of the largest fleets of electric buses in the the UK, is of huge significance to BYD. Nottingham City council selected our ebuses after a comprehensive evaluation programme involving a variety of competitors demonstrating the strength of our proven technology.

“It is no surprise that other major UK provincial cities – such as Liverpool – are already following Nottingham’s lead.”

Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council portfolio holder for business, growth and transport, added: “These new buses are a welcome addition to our Link bus services, which ensure that local residents are provided with public transport to access vital medical and work links. One of the key objectives to this project was to drive down running costs so that subsidised services like Link bus can be retained at times of severe budget restraint, which we have so far achieved.

“Nottingham is proud to be named a designated Clean Air Zone with Euro 6 emission entry standards for buses by 2020. It hasn’t been easy being an early adopter of such cutting-edge technology, but the partnership has now achieved a reliable electric bus network. It is hoped that other bus operators and contractors within Nottingham will make use of this charging network and local expertise.”

BYD is backing its electric buses, which include its iron-phosphate batteries, with a five-year powertrain warranty . It has also supplied the charging infrastructure with 12 stations installed at the park-and-ride site which have twin 40kW chargers that can fully charge the vehicles in four and a half hours.

The ebuses have a range of around 170 miles, according to BYD, which is comfortably in excess of the 100 miles required for the contract. The peak vehicle requirement for the contract is just nine vehicles, so Nottingham has built in plenty of spares to enable it to deal with any teething problems. The park-and-ride site is well used to handling electric buses with the fleet of Optares based there, but the BYD charging stations are newly-installed and supported by a new substation, which is deftly positioned above ground level, as the site is close to the river and subject to potential flood risk.

The City Council and its contractor Nottingham Community Transport has installed a dedicated tracking and monitoring system for its fleet of electric buses. The Dutch-built ViriCiti system enables real-time monitoring of the state of charge and condition of the batteries of the electric bus fleet, and enables the control team to advise drivers who may be concerned whether they have enough charge to return safely to the depot. The system was installed first on the Optare electric fleet and has now been extended to the BYD buses.

The Optare electric buses are generally re-charged during the working day if they fall to 25 per cent charge, but the operational team have been advised by BYD that it is safe to allow the new ebuses to run to as low as 10 per cent. 

The operational range of the new BYDs should also negate the need for interim charges, whereas the earlier Optare electric buses have a maximum range of 70 miles and normally run for around 50 miles before being required to be re-charged.

BYD is providing full service support for the new electric buses including training for drivers and technicians, and engineering support will be provided through Nottingham Community Transport’s existing contract with Redfern Travel.