London’s ‘world first’ electric decker

The fully electric BYD double decker first seen at Busworld Kortrijk and described by its manufacturer as the first of its kind in the world, has been welcomed in the capital

City Hall in London hosted the formal launch of the first BYD fully electric double decker, which is due to enter service in the capital shortly. The vehicle has been designed and developed to TfL’s standards and specifications, with the Chinese manufacturer claiming it is completely emissions free.

Although there have previously been examples of electrically powered double deckers, such as the Magtec repowered Dennis Trident in York, this is thought to be the first OEM electric double decker.

(LtoR) Leon Daniels; Matthew Pencharz; Director of Bus at TfL, Mike Weston and Isbrand Ho

(LtoR) Leon Daniels; Matthew Pencharz; Director of Bus at TfL, Mike Weston and Isbrand Ho

The hand over saw Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz, formally receive the first bus from MD of BYD Europe, Isbrand Ho.

The landmark vehicle is one of a fleet of five, which will enter service on Route 98 operated on behalf of TfL by Metroline. BYD is working with these two organisations on an introduction programme for the vehicles, which includes driver training and the installation of fast charging equipment at the operator’s Willesden Bus Garage in north London.

The 100% BYD designed and developed vehicle is 10.2m long, features full air conditioning and offers seats for a total of 54 passengers together with space for 27 standees. BYD says the Iron Phosphate batteries fitted to the bus store 345kWh of energy when fully charged giving it a range of up to 190 miles typical urban driving according to the internationally recognised SORT test conditions. Recharging takes four hours and can be completed overnight using low cost off peak electricity. This is more than enough to handle most daily duty cycles, according to the manufacturer.

BYD Europe’s Isbrand Ho said, ‘The Mayor of London challenged us saying that he did not believe an electric double decker was technically feasible but we took up the challenge and in less than two years created the bus Londoners can see today. This is not a hybrid bus but a totally emissions free product which will give London a world leading position in its efforts to improve air quality.’

TfL’s MD for Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said, ‘BYD are a brilliant supplier. They lead the world in electric bus technology and we thank them for their efforts to make this new double decker a reality.’

Even though it is the first BYD fully electric double decker, the capital is no stranger to the Chinese brand. Two pure electric BYD single deckers have been in successful trial service with Go-Ahead on TfL routes 507/521 for almost two years. Recently the manufacturer secured an order for a further 51 single decker electrics for operation by Go-Ahead. These buses, due to enter service later in 2016, are being developed in collaboration with BYD’s UK partner Alexander Dennis Ltd, which will undertake final assembly at its plant in Scotland.





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