Distributed energy specialist Centrica Business Solutions has provided e-bus charging infrastructure for operator Stagecoach after securing £6.9m in support funding from the UK Department of Transport’s Ultra Low-Emission Bus Scheme (ULEB).
A total of 32 fully-electric double-decker buses currently operate two key high-frequency services connecting Manchester city centre, Manchester Airport, five hospitals and two universities, reportedly saving 920,000 litres of diesel a year and reducing annual CO2 by 2,400 tonnes.
The buses are equipped with two charging points and each charger has twin 40kW AC feeds. When combined, the 80kW supply means the buses can be recharged in three and a half hours.
Centrica Business Solutions led the design and delivery of the charging infrastructure project, which includes a new 6.6kV HV timed connection, 2MVA transformer, on-site solar generation and charger energy management system.
According to Centrica, the delivery is one of Europe’s largest single investments in e-buses, and the system has been built to enable Stagecoach to scale its energy needs when further routes are electrified.
The company also developed a dynamic charging schedule that enables Stagecoach to access lower energy costs, and leverage surplus energy on the grid, ensuring the cost for upgrading its supply was minimised.
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director, Stagecoach Manchester, said: “This is a significant milestone in the history of transport in Greater Manchester and represents one of the biggest single investments in electric buses anywhere in Europe.
“It will deliver major benefits for our customers, the region and other road users in delivering greener transport on some of Manchester’s busiest roads.”
The Enviro EV400 bus used by Stagecoach is a joint venture between Alexander Dennis, which delivered the chassis, body and internal furnishings, while the batteries and drivetrain were provided by BYD. Each has a range of up to 190 miles and capacity to carry around 80 passengers.