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New Alexander Dennis/ BYD Europe electric buses for First Group in Glasgow

The new BYD ADL Enviro200EV are the first electric buses in Glasgow's streets I © ADL

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD Europe presented on 14 January 2020 that their electric vehicle partnership has supplied two 100% emissions-free, pure-electric buses to the operator First Glasgow. The buses, which have been funded by SP Energy Networks, will reduce emissions in Scotland’s largest city.

ADL is a subsidiary of leading independent global bus manufacturer NFI Group Inc. (NFI), while BYD is a global leader in batteries, energy management and electric mobility which has Chinese roots. Both have supplied electric and hybrid buses to other cities in Britain, namely to London.

The fully electric BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses

The new BYD ADL Enviro200EV single deck buses are however, fully electric and therefore emission-free. The new buses will convert First Glasgow’s M3 bus service to full electric operation. Serving local roads on its route from Milton to Glasgow city centre, the zero-emission buses will improve air quality for residents, including children at St Joseph’s Primary School, who were the first passengers on the inaugural journey to a launch event attended by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, and Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability & Carbon Reduction at Glasgow City Council.

The move to electric buses is an important one as Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) came into effect in Glasgow city centre on 31 December 2018. This is a first in Scotland. Glasgow’s LEZ is being phased in and is only applying to local service buses in the beginning. This is the main reason why First, alongside other bus operators, procured over 150 low-emission Euro 6 buses with the manufacturer’s low emission SmartPack technology. UTM reported here:

The introduction of the zero-emission electric buses was made possible by the award of 1.5 million GBP (ca. 1.78 million Euro) in funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund, established by the electricity network operator to support the Scottish Government’s ambitious green targets to boost local economic growth, improve air quality in Scottish cities and to expedite a better future for all.

The 10.8-metre buses were built by Alexander Dennis in Scotland on chassis supplied by BYD from its factory in Komárom, Hungary, providing 36 comfortable seats in a spacious interior. The battery capacity is 330 kWh. Batteries will be charged overnight at First Glasgow’s Caledonia depot, where the operator has installed 22 charging points in anticipation of further investment in electric buses.

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to launch the city’s first conversion of a commercial bus service to fully electric operation. The whole team at First Glasgow are thrilled to be teamed up with SP Energy Networks in order to bring these state-of-the-art zero-emission vehicles to the people of Glasgow and the M3 route. Every customer journey on the route will save around 2kg of CO2 compared with driving on your own in an average car, making bus the best choice in reducing the impact on the planet.”

Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, added: “Glasgow has ambitious plans to be the UK’s first net-zero carbon city by 2030, but for that to happen, there will be big changes across the city. The introduction of this new electric bus technology which will ultimately improve air quality and noise pollution in the city centre and other communities. We are very proud to be supporting this historic moment for Glasgow by fully funding the infrastructure and vehicles for its first completely electric bus route since the 1960s.”

Like many other cities in Great Britain, Glasgow used to have an extensive tram network until 1962 and a trolleybus network until 1967. Since then, urban public transport has taken place almost exclusively with diesel buses.

Colin Robertson, Chief Executive at Alexander Dennis, says: “Sustainable buses are part of the solution to the climate emergency and at Alexander Dennis we are proud to be leading this transformation together with BYD, our partner in the United Kingdom. Our electric buses are already running at Glasgow Airport and it’s great to see them take to the streets of Scotland’s largest city, providing real benefits for passengers and residents.”

Frank Thorpe, BYD UK Managing Director, said: “Electric mobility represents the long-term future for public transport local authorities, as evidence by an increasing number of operators up and down the country. An increasingly climate-aware public has woken to the important role electric buses can fulfil in towns and cities, and operators are now realising the commercial benefits of electric mobility. We are delighted to be partnering with the market-leading ADL organisation, together building a formidable bond with operators and passengers alike.”

Sources: ADL/ BYD

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