Stagecoach Manchester has launched 32 all-electric double-decker buses, the first to arrive in the Greater Manchester area. The fleet will serve the 111 and 43 routes connecting Manchester city centre and the airport as well as five hospitals and three universities.
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The electric double-deckers have been delivered by Alexander Dennis, albeit with a few months delay. According to the original plans, the first of the Enviro400 EV were to go into service from summer 2019. Back then, Stagecoach envisioned a fleet of a total of 105 electric buses. However, we have been informed by a spokesperson for Alexander Dennis, that this never went ahead as the government only approved funding for 32 e-buses. In the end, funding through the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme amounted to £6,934,932.00 (down from the initially applied for 21M). ADL also told electrive that the delay in launching the fleet into passenger operation was due to missing charging infrastructure coming from another supplier as well as late funding approval.
Now to recapture the technical details that remained unchanged: Stagecoach Manchester chose the Enviro400 EV from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL). They come equipped with technology from China’s BYD and are also in use across London. In the capital the e-buses come in the iconic red, just in Manchester Stagecoach has opted for a turquoise green.
These zero-emission buses can travel 190 miles on a single charge. Also, Stagecoach estimates a double-decker bus can already take more than 70 cars off the road, and the new e-buses will save 2,208 tonnes of carbon a year compared to the existing fleet.
Stagecoach claims to be “the UK’s biggest investor in hybrid-electric bus technology” and says it has invested more than £1billion in new greener buses over the past decade. By the end of 2020, the transport provider will be running more electric buses than any other UK bus operator, says the company.
On the incoming double-decker fleet in Manchester, Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “The introduction of the new electric double-decker buses is a significant milestone in the history of transport in Greater Manchester and represents one of the biggest single investments in electric buses anywhere in Europe.”
The investment also includes infrastructure and power requirements at the depot level, with intelligent chargers used to limit loadings on the electricity supply and maximise vehicle availability.
Transforming the air quality in Greater Manchester is one part of a £142m partnership plan developed by Stagecoach to deliver a step-change in the region’s bus network and seamlessly connect South and North Manchester in the next ten years.
Working with the Mayor and local authorities, it would deliver more comprehensive services and a profit share which would see revenue made from Stagecoach services reinvested across the region’s full transport network, the company claims.
++ This article has been updated to include new information regarding the order volume and fulfilment. An older version claimed that an initial 105 e-buses were due to arrive eventually.
Update 10 September 2020: Centrica Business Solutions has come forward announcing it provided bus charging infrastructure for the Stagecoach fleet as above. The project includes a new 6.6kV HV timed connection, 2MVA transformer, on-site solar generation and charger energy management system. Centrica says, the system is built with expansion in mind, enabling Stagecoach to scale their energy needs, when further routes are electrified.
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