The Scottish bus maker Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has signed a framework agreement with Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) for the delivery of up to 600 double-decker hybrid buses. NTA expects the first 100 of the diesel-electric buses in Dublin in autumn 2020.
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ADL’s hybrid-electric buses of type Enviro400ER can travel at least 2.5 kilometres on pure electric power. The order over the first 100 units is confirmed and worth a total of about €273 million, setting the cost for each incoming bus at €450,000. It follows an earlier tender the NTA had set up and which ADL has won. On winning the procurement, the bus maker that belongs to the global NFI Group said it had provided the “most economically advantageous offer”.
The hybrid double-decker utilises the BAE Systems Series-ER hybrid system with a 32kWh lithium-ion battery that can be charged via a plug-in connection. The buses switch to electric mode at low speeds, i.e. when approaching or departing from a bus stop.
The buses will be 11.0 metres long and will have City style bodywork which ADL says it has adapted to the requirements in Ireland. The first 100 buses will seat 66 passengers and will have separate spaces for wheelchair users and passengers travelling with buggies.
The new order follows the NTA purchasing nine other hybrid-electric buses. However, the Irish authority had previously announced fully-electric double-decker buses coming to Cork within five years. Yet, it had found finding suitable models difficult so far.
Yet move it has. The Irish government operates on a plan called Project Ireland 2040 which outlines the country’s move to a low carbon economy bolstered with 116 billion euros. 22bn have been earmarked for climate protection measures, including electric transport initiatives. For public fleets, bus operators must stop buying diesel vehicles from 1 July 2020.
Regarding ADL, NTA will be able to exercise options for a further 500 electric vehicles to reflect vehicle requirements over the coming years. ADL stresses in its press release that the framework agreement provides the opportunity to adjust the specifications of further vehicles to suit other operating requirements. So, we are thinking all-electric.
Update 15 December 2020: With only a slight delay, NTA now presented the first units of the 100 plug-in hybrid buses Ireland’s transport authority had ordered from ADL. They remain scheduled to enter service from the beginning of 2021. Dublin Bus will operate 74 in the Irish capital and a further 26 by Bus Éireann in Galway.
Plus, NTA also made use of its option and asked ADL to supply another 160 hybrid buses, then bringing the count up to 260 electrified buses.
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