In the UK, Stagecoach is now using Tesla Powerpacks to reduce the cost of charging a large fleet of electric buses. Energy company Zenobe has installed 78 stationery batteries and several charging stations at Stagecoach’s bus depot in Guildford, a town in southern England.
The electric buses in Guildford have been running since ADL and BYD delivered the electric vehicles this January as reported. However, Stagecoach ran into trouble at the depot when an upgrade of the onsite electric supply was threatening the viability of the electrification project since it would take 12 months to complete. This is where Zenobe came in.
Zenobe’s solution was to supply a stationary battery on site which incorporates a charging system that was installed within six weeks alongside a funding arrangement. The site at Guildford, not too far from South from London, is now a “battery-supported bus depot”. When speaking to the BBC, co-founder James Basden considered the introduction of electric bus fleets a “big generational shift that we’re trying to make happen now,” and with energy from renewables.
The installation for Stagecoach comprises 78 Tesla energy storage units that charge from the grid at off-peak prices and then charge the electric buses overnight.
Stagecoach is running the 10.8-metre electric buses supplied by the BYD ADL partnership on park and ride services. The routes connect three car parks and a leisure centre with the town centre on six days a week.
For Zenobe, this is just one project. The company also launched a financing scheme this May as an add-on to the British government’s 48 million pound Ultra Low Emission Bus scheme (ULEB). The Zenobe EV scheme is worth up to £120 million from Zenobe Energy, and the company says it can be used alongside grants from the ULEB scheme. The first operator to receive investment is Newport Transport, who are using the investment to purchase 15 Yutong E12 electric single-decker buses. Zenobe will be financing the buses, batteries and infrastructure.