Abellio previews Caetano electric bus
A prototype of the vehicle was displayed for press and other invitees to peruse at its Walworth depot. The operator is to run 34 of the electric single-deckers from this site next year. They will be used on TfL routes C10 (Canada Water to Victoria Station) and P5 (Patmore Estate to Elephant & Castle) from March 2020.
MD of Abellio, Tony Wilson, said the choice of Caetano for its electric bus was made partly due to the fact both the operator and manufacturer have a good relationship with their shared Japanese shareholder: Mitsui.
Tony said a few of the depot’s drivers have test-driven the vehicle, all of whom gave good feedback about its performance.
An interesting feature on the buses is a Stoneridge camera system instead of a wing mirror, with a screen displaying the view from the driver’s cab. It also features intelligent speed assist.
The vehicle displayed on the day will not actually be part of the initial 34 entering service with Abellio, despite featuring the operator’s London livery. Instead, it will be used as a demonstrator in the UK.
Tony said: “It’s an exciting step forward. I’ve been in the industry 42 years and in the last 18 months to two years, it has changed more than throughout any of those years. The technology is so different.”
The 10.7m e.City Golds entering service with Abellio are the first electric bus from the Portuguese manufacturer slated to enter the UK. According to CaetanoBus CEO, Jorge Pinto, it is hoped more will arrive on these shores, building on the manufacturer’s already good relationship with the country through its supply of National Express’s fleet.
Jorge said: “There is a high potential for even more zero emission buses in the future. We want to contribute to that.”
Battery storage operator, Zenobé Energy, is to collaborate with Abellio to help power the vehicles. This is the first EV financing project in London for Zenobé since the company announced its £120 million partnership funding in May, with an aim to facilitate the electrification of transport fleets and the potential to double the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. Siemens charging equipment is to be used.
- See next week’s issue for a more in-depth report from the e.City Gold event