Metroline orders electric buses for London operations

Image: Wrightbus

The London bus operator Metroline has ordered 39 electric double-decker buses from the Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus. The model on order is the battery-electric double-decker StreetDeck Electroliner.

++ This article has been updated; please continue reading below. ++

Metroline will operate the 39 new buses on routes 297 and 142, which run through the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow and Barnet, and Watford in Hertfordshire, north of London, according to Wrightbus. The vehicles are built at the Wrightbus plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Wrightbus, long known for its fuel cell buses, introduced the StreetDeck Ecoliner as its first BEV model in July 2021. The StreetDeck Electroliner has a seating capacity of 95 passengers, including 74 seats. The batteries are housed in the underbody and rear, and the total battery pack is available in a 340 or 454 kWh configuration. Wrightbus says the latter energy content provides up to 200 miles (about 320 kilometres) of range. Charging is via CCS with up to 300 kW or at pantographs with up to 420 kW.

The battery systems are supplied by the French company Forsee Power. The AV133 rear axle comes from ZF, as does the independent front suspension (RL 82 EC). Buyers also have the choice between one or two doors.

Since the BEV double-decker was unveiled, Wrightbus has already received numerous orders for the model. An August 2022 order from First Bus for 193 e-buses includes the StreetDeck Ecoliner double-decker. In June, Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) signed a framework agreement with Wrightbus for 800 electric buses, with a firm order for 120 StreetDeck Ecoliners at launch. Ben Werth, Chief Commercial Officer at Wrightbus, spoke of a “very successful year” as the company announced the Metroline order.

Metroline also already has fuel cell buses from Wrightbus in its fleet. “As with the hydrogen bus order, it is essential that wherever possible, we purchase vehicles with a high local build content, supporting the UK supply chain backing our technical expertise in the zero-emissions arena,” says Ian Foster, Group Engineering Director at Metroline. “Our testing of the new electric vehicle has shown excellent power consumption per mile, and we are confident that, working closely with Wrightbus’ development team, these figures will continue to improve.”

Update 01 December 2022

Following the above order of 39 electric double-deckers from Wrightbus, Metroline has also commissioned Volvo. The London bus operator ordered 48 solo buses based on the Volvo BZL Electric and expects the new e-buses to enter service in England in the second half of 2023.

Volvo Buses presented the new chassis for solo and double-decker electric buses last year. Metroline opted for single-deck buses measuring 9.7, 10.35 and 10.8 metres, capable of carrying between 62 and 67 passengers depending on the length and down to specifications from Transport for London (TfL). Volvo will build the electric vehicles with CCS for depot charging and Volvo Connect Zone Management.

The order over 48 is the largest Volvo has received for the BZL Electric. It is also Metroline’s first time ordering electric buses from Volvo.

“Metroline is pleased to place this order with Volvo for the latest additions to our single deck ZE fleet,” ComfortDelGro (UK) Group Engineering Director Ian Foster said. “We have a long-standing relationship involving all areas of our transport operations around the world, and this reflects the trust we have in Volvo Buses delivering a reliable product with exceptional aftermarket support and service.”

Metroline operates buses for Transport for London and belongs to the global transport operator ComfortDelGro.

Additional reporting by Nora Manthey, London., (update Dec’ 22)


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