Stagecoach planning £21.5m bid for support from the government’s £48m Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme for fleet of full electric double-deckers


Alexander Dennis has already won orders for bettery-powered Enviro400 EV City vehicles from Metroline


Stagecoach is seeking government funding for a ambitious £56m plan to deliver Europe’s largest single investment in electric buses in Greater Manchester, providing a massive boost to local air quality.

Britain’s biggest bus operator is hoping that the first of the proposed 105 new zero emission double-decker buses and associated infrastructure will go live from summer 2019, with the fleet fully in place by early 2020.

“Stagecoach has pledged to provide three-fifths (£34.6m) of the funding required for the project, which is backed by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham. The remainder of the funding would come in the form of a successful £21.5m bid for support from the government’s £48m Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, which is aimed at cutting emissions and ensuring cleaner and greener journeys.

If the bid is successful, Stagecoach would replace existing Euro 3 and Euro 4 diesel buses with new Enviro400 EV City vehicles, built by Larbert-based Alexander Dennis using battery and power electronics expertise from automotive company BYD.

A multi-million-pound investment would meanwhile be made in delivering infrastructure requirements at Stagecoach’s Hyde Road and Sharston depots.

“This game-changing initiative is the biggest single investment in e-bus technology anywhere in Europe,” said Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. “It is a clear sign of our bold ambition to transform Greater Manchester’s bus network.”

“Our plans will put Greater Manchester at the forefront of the drive to improve local air quality, and help cement Britain’s position as global leader in manufacturing low-emission vehicles.”

The e-bus fleet would operate four key high frequency services connecting Manchester city centre, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly railway station, six hospitals and two universities. It would also complement recent public investment in bus priority measures in the south of the city.

Two further high frequency services would be operated predominantly by electric vehicles, supported by existing low carbon certified hybrid vehicles at peak times, meaning 36 buses per hour in each direction would be operated by the new e-bus fleet.

Around 15-20 buses would be introduced a month from summer 2019, with full roll out achieved by early 2020. The associated infrastructure works would begin in the autumn of 2018 and be fully completed by spring 2019.

The new e-bus fleet for Greater Manchester offers a 62% improvement in CO2 emissions over the latest low-carbon emission buses and supports the region’s Air Quality Action Plan. Overall, the initiative would save 2.6 million litres of diesel a year, reduce annual CO2 by 6,800 tonnes, and cut NOx emissions by 24% and particulates by 20% across the fleet.

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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