50 ADL electric double-decker buses for Manchester area

British bus builder Alexander Dennis (ADL) has received an order for 50 electric double-decker buses from Transport for Greater Manchester. The buses are planned for the first phase of the Bee Network bus system that is due to launch in Wigan and Bolton in September 2023.

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The electric buses will be built in the UK at the Alexander Dennis factory in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and will be subsidised through the UK government’s ‘City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement’. They will be used in two cities in Greater Manchester, namely Wigan and Bolton. The new bus concession system for the metropolitan region, called Bee Network, will be introduced in these areas on 17 September 2023. From 2024 onwards, other parts of Greater Manchester will then be connected to the new transport system.

The Bee Network is designed as a fully integrated transport system following the London model and will include and cater for buses as well as trams, walking, cycling and eventually trains. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, says that this involves “the return of buses to municipal control”. Next year, Alexander Dennis’ electric double-decker buses will be the first to carry the black and yellow branding of the new Bee Network.

Although not revealed in press statements, it is most likely that the 50 electric buses will be the Enviro400 EV model, produced through the manufacturer’s cooperation with BYD, which is the only electric double-decker model the company has available before the end of 2023. ADL is also planning to expand its range with new electric buses, which will be developed entirely in-house. According to a company statement from August, these will not be delivered to customers until late 2023.

The Enviro400 EVs, which are around ten metres long, are the result of close cooperation with BYD. The vehicles are based on a BYD chassis and are also equipped with an LFP battery pack from the Chinese vehicle and battery manufacturer. The bodywork comes from ADL.

According to ADL, the vehicles are available in various configurations. According to the company website, these vehicles are available in lengths of 10.3 and 10.8 metres. The gross vehicle weight is given as 19.2 tonnes. 72 seats are available for passengers, 43 in the upper section and 29 in the lower section.

Two engines with a maximum output of two times 150 kW are integrated into the drive axle of the buses with two times 150 kW. The battery system has 339 kWh for the 10.3-metre variant or 382 kWh for the 10.8-metre variant. The range is given as up to 160 miles (about 250 kilometres).

Update 02 January 2023

Transport for Greater Manchester has ordered a further 50 electric double-decker buses from British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis (ADL). These will complement the 50 electric double-deckers ordered in September 2022 for the first phase of the Bee Network franchise bus system, which is due to launch in Wigan and Bolton in September 2023.

The additional 50 vehicles will be put into service in parts of Bury, Rochdale and Oldham when the second phase of the Bee Network starts there in April 2024.

Update 05 June 2023

Alexander Dennis has officially handed over the first five of 100 electric double-deck buses ordered by public transport operator Transport for Greater Manchester. The first 50 zero-emission buses will hit the roads in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury in September. A further 50 are to be delivered in March 2024, when the transport line will be extended to Bury, Rochdale and Oldham and parts of Manchester, Salford and Tameside. Services across the rest of Greater Manchester will follow in January 2025.

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