Ashok Leyland’s British subsidiary Optare has received an order from the London-based public transport operator Tower Transit for the delivery of 37 electrically driven double-decker buses.
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The buses, called Metrodecker EV, are to be used for the electrification of lines 23 and C3. The order from Tower Transit is the third major order for Optare’s Metrodecker EV in just over a year and the second order for the British capital. According to the manufacturer, a total of 100 units of the electric double-decker will be in operation by the end of 2020.
In November, the operator Tower Transit received the order from Transport for London for routes 23 and C3. The company was awarded the contract based on “a comprehensive study on the operation of electric vehicles”, says Satnam Cheema, technical director of Tower Transit. In a trial, the performance of the Metrodecker EV was convincing, as was the charging solution for the Westbourne Park depot. “We are confident that the launch will be successful and we will use the experience gained to win further EV routes in London,” Cheema continued.
But the Metrodeckers are by no means the only electric versions of the iconic red double-decker buses in London: the joint venture of the Chinese group BYD with the British bus manufacturer ADL offers the Enviro400EV and has already delivered numerous copies of it to the operator Metroline. The operators Go-Ahead and RATP Dev each use the solo variant Envrio200EV from BYD-ADL in the British capital.
London has been taking steps to electrify their public transport fleets for some time now, with Transport for London aiming to electrify all double-decker buses operating in London by the end of this year. The rest of the fleet is to follow by 2037, which seems a bit slow, but at least the iconic red double-decker buses should be operating on a clean basis before too long.
Update 26 May 2020: ZF will provide the drive for the 37 electric double-decker buses which the London bus company Tower Transit has ordered from the British bus manufacturer Optare. As the supplier now announces, the 37 double-deckers are driven by the ZF AxTrax AVE electric portal axle. “Central London has one of the world’s strictest regimes for regulating emissions. The multiple contracts awarded by the city, demonstrate that the AxTrax AVE is a technology which allows our customer, Optare, to meet the most demanding standards for clean and attractive local public transportation,” says Andreas Moser, Group Executive of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Technology division.
The 37 vehicles will further increase the number of e-buses powered by the AxTrax – but only minimally. According to ZF, more than 2,200 electric buses equipped with AxTrax AVE worldwide have already covered around 150 million road kilometers locally without emissions. The electric axle is available in various versions and enables hybrid drives, but also battery-electric solutions or use with a fuel cell as the energy source.